Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Quarter that was – Summary of Second quarter at Darden

The second quarter at Darden is dreaded for its heavy work load with the November month infamously referred to as the ‘Black November’. It certainly did live up to expectations but I will add that end of the day, everyone in our class is alive, well and kicking.

We had hardly recovered from our 1st quarter exams when we received bundle of new case materials in our mailbox. With Finance, Economics, Accounting, Operations and Marketing as our subjects we were in for a quantitative treat! Company briefings and networking events definetly added to our busy schedule.

Typical day was something like this

7:15 – Get up
8:00 – First class
9:25 – First coffee (Some people relaxed and got heir dose of caffeine, others setup meetings with 2nd year/Career coaches for advice on job search/networking/courses etc
10:00 – Second Class
11:25 – Second coffee
11:40 – Third class
1:15 – Done with classes
1:30 – 2:30 Company Briefings
3:30 – 6:30 – Case preparation for next day
6:30 – 7:30 Company Briefings
8:00 – 10:00 (or 11:00) learning team

Games we played

This quarter was as much about simulations as it was about case discussions. First, we had a 2 day long marketing simulation game where we got together in our learning teams to manage companies manufacturing cars. We had to come up with our product portfolio, strategic position for each product and compete with other teams to sell our cars over 6 periods. Team with best stock price and profitability won. We also had a ‘Beer game’, a combined marketing and operations game about supply chain and another operations game about strategic souring. Games were well designed and enjoyable and really added to this quarter’s fun.

Darden cup – real games!

Darden cup continued with soccer, “Darden cares 5k run” and blood drive with sections competing for points gained not only by winning but also extent of participation. Darden also had it own football and soccer teams play in the intra-mural leagues.

Events and competitions

Lots of us for some reason decided that it would be fun and challenging to go out and participate in various case competitions and events. We had several contests that Dardenites participated in such as the Deloitte case challenge, Pepsi case competition, Coke case competition, IPO challenge, Innovation challenge and couple of other names I cannot recall. Darden came in third in Coke case completion final and had team go out to final of IPO challenge, 2 teams in the Innovation challenge finals and other competitions too. I am sure the Darden website has a more accurate report on these events, mine are just from memory.

Cover letter and resume drops

This was when we put the results of our soul searching, career search and networking to test. Condense all these into 3 paragraphs on the cover letter; add your resume and you are ready to apply for a summer internship position. The only catch is that you have to repeat it 5 to 10 times varying on the number of companies you may wish to apply. The resume drop deadline in the first week of December is what makes our November, ‘Black November’.

Fun times continue

Whatever the workload, people were always out for TNDC. (Thursday night drinking club). We might have got our cases the very day exams ended but for the next few days only cases we picked up, let’s just say had a liquid with fantastic healing power. This quarter saw some big parties such as the 80’s theme party, Halloween, karaoke night and the Darden Ball. The cold call weekly family events continued with my favorite one being “Screen on the Green” an outdoor movie showing on our very own Darden lawn.

Some Charitable work

Between all these we all found some time for charitable work. Lot of classmate contributed several hours to ‘habitat for humanity’ and other efforts. Towards the end of the quarter we had auction event for to raise money for “Building goodness in april” . Read more here. We managed to raise over $50,000 for this cause

All in all a crazy quarter! Glad I’m done and looking forward to my vacation.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Drink Management

Once you get to a Business school its hard to communicate anything without excel. Tomorrow is the last day of our second quarter exams and we have a "bar-golf" game planned soon after. In planning for the event, this is what's floating around in our mailboxes today.


The details of text on the right


I can't wait for exams to get over. Party on dudes!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dardenomics

We have been learning macroeconomics this quarter and I was able to apply my knowledge to understand real-life behavoir.
Note: familarity with IS-LM model, income identity and macroeconomics in general are pre-requisites to understanding the discussion below.
__________________________________________________________________

Your steady state equilibrium prior to coming to Darden can be presented by


















Where
r = real interest in pursuing B-school education
and
D = Darden Identity = C + I + S + P + NX

C – Case method
I –Invested effort
S –Sleep – ‘lack of’
L– Liquidity
M – money supply
NX – Net exchange of ideas

In addition, we assume that G - grades are held constant at 'B' and as it is not on the axis would act as shifter of the curves.

When you enter Darden and your disposable income goes down, you take loans and hence
Liquidity ↓ Money supply↓
Hence your motivation level decreases reflected in decrease of ‘r’ ;



LM curve must shift down to the right
















Moving ahead in time through Q1 and Q2,
C- Case method hours move from ‘0’ to ‘4.5’ hrs daily

Invested effort ↑ and Sleep – lack off ↑




Hence the IS curve shifts down to the left














The intersection of IS and LM is the new equilibrium state of Darden student. How this identity translates to behavoiral espects is beyond the scope of this discussion

Disclaimer:
1. Like all economic theories, the above model has no relevance to reality
2. Disclaimer on disclaimer 1 is that I am not an economist nor plan to be one!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Darden FY reports for Fox Business

Watch my classmate Alex video blog his darden experiences for Fox Business website.





If the video doesn't work here is the link


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quarter: One asked - One given

This modified quote is so apt for the culmination of first quarter at Darden. In fact we are already into the first week of second quarter. We made it! The first quarter is supposedly very tough at Darden and I can give first hand confirmation that it was every bit as hard as they said it would be. But of course we came here knowing that very well. No quarter was asked, none given!
Let me give you some updates on the our progress

Classroom experience
We continued our daily grind of preparing cases, learning team meetings and the class discussions. I use the word grind to represent the effort we put each day and not necessarily the experience. My learning team has been very flexible making my overall experience even more enjoyable. The classes have been fun, discussions engaging. Quite often we have had people from the industry come to class and narrate their experience as they went through the real life case. They were either right in the middle of action or somewhat related to the problems we were discussing in the case. We got real-time feedback on our class discussion and how we went on tackling the problem as compared to what they did and how things panned out.

We have had some fun in the classroom too. We have played some games or ran simulations in the class to drive home a point. In the operations class we also happened to call up an 1-800 number related to the case to evaluate the queue wait times and service. Couple of days back we setup our Google ‘adwords’ account to measure advertising effectiveness as we were going through the case. It’s all very practical education.

We had added our own bit of fun by coming up with some creative class norms. Our section has a combination “2 truths and a lie” and a “physical challenge” as introduction for classroom visitors. The latter is basically a spoof but at the same time hilarious.

Career:
Many companies have been on grounds and lot of our time was dedicated to attending company briefings and events. We also spent a significant portion of our time networking with potential recruiters, especially true for our classmates looking at Investment banking career. In parallel we have taken career development modules that educated us on the art and science of resume writing, cover letters, networking etc. We have also covered other important topics such as Self awareness , understanding our your life themes, defining your career objectives and pitch, understanding recruiter needs, industries, functions, company research etc. All in all a packed schedule and lot of work.

Exams:
We had a day off to prepare for our exams which may seem an awfully short time but it’s not. Having gone through the course so rigorously there is not a lot to prepare. I was very skeptical when the second years mentioned that exam time would be the most relaxed time but later came to agree with that. I am sure that not everyone in the class agrees with me but I think there is a significant number who would. Ask my roommate with whom I spent hours playing on the x-box during exam time.

Social activities:
The school organizes more social activities that you can ever imagine attending. From International food festival, Screen on the green (movie screening), weekly cold call (happy hour on Darden lawns) and numerous other events and parties. They have a lot of events for the partners which I wouldn’t know a lot about, being single. At the end of the first quarter we had the much hyped ‘100 case party’ with the 80s dress theme that really was a blast. If you know anything about Darden you would know about TNDC – Thursday night drinking club. The primer mails we get for this are absolutely out this world hilarious but unfortunately I cannot share any of those here. Seeing the trend and for all I know we might have an unofficial every day drinking club. The Charlottesville scene is great with plenty of bars around the corner area which where all the undergrads hang out too :)

Well that’s a sweet way to wind up these posts. I can’t believe all the things that we have managed to get done in such a short span of time. I skipped through the real meat to give you an overview of some areas but hopefully I can dive into some specifics in my later posts. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me mail regarding what you want me to write about.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sequence of randomness

I plan to make this to be as abstract as the title. This is as abstract as I can write. If you really deciphered this, you are such a geek. Just kiddin!

Beauty and the beast – Case method

So what has transpired that past 2 weeks. Well, we have mainly focused on classes and cases(not beer). Everyday we spend about 2-3 hours preparing cases on our own before we discuss them with our learning teams for 2-3 more hours. We take our learnings to class, discuss, agree, disagree and hash out all different perspectives of looking at the same problem. It is such a thrilling experience! Many a times I end the class with a ‘wow, I learned something today and I thought I knew how to do this’. So, what's so exciting about this? Imagine taking up a problem relating to xyz industries. You have some information on the problem and some data to work with. You run the numbers, think of possible scenarios and pros and cons. You get some great insights from your learning team and other ways to look at the problem and you are ready for the class. Now the fun begins. You start hearing about a different approach you disagree, you are challenged to reason your stand and listen to opposing viewpoints. You listen 20 different ways to look at the problem and understand it in its entirety. This is just the beginning. Add to that personal insights of people who have been in that situation worked in that industry or understand that function. Even more interesting is when you here from someone whose experiences are completely unrelated and looks at quantitative problem qualitatively or vice-versa. The professors run the class in very well planned and choreographed fashion. If you read carefully you would have found the beast as well. What can be exciting and thought provoking can also be little frustrating.

Caught somewhere in time

All the time classes and cases take, they are only part of our learning. To explore our interests we have joined various professional and affinity clubs. On average we are enrolled to 4-5 clubs. As club meetings start they take time off our calendar it becomes increasingly challenging to keep pace with all that is happening. We are also alerted on stuff we need to start working on and this starts eating into our 5 hours sleep. Drinking and partying 4 days a week doesn't help either.

One of the excellent opportunities ‘Darden’ provides is the ‘leadership speaker series’. Within a month of our first year we have already hosted top executives from companies such as Lehman brothers (Gary Weinstein) and Wachovia (CEO - Ken Thompson). The insights such top leaders provide from their experience are truly invaluable.

High hopes

Now to the career stuff which has been the real storm most of us. I remember being asked this question recently –

Q: So what do you want to do when you grow up?
Me: I guess I’ll only find out if and when I grow up!


We are in midst of deciding what career path to pursue after the Darden MBA. Our career development center has a very well planned approach to the problem– Understand yourself (through many self assessment exercises) list down skills, strength and interests, explore opportunities and see how they fit your life themes. Narrow down the function and industry before getting down to the actual job. Use resources available to explore jobs and skill sets required. Complete the picture and start preparing for how to target the same. Obviously it is lot more comprehensive than what I describe here and we have spent a lot of time at every step. I think this a great approach and is helping us a great deal to define our career paths. Oh did I mention we have Career discovery forums where alumni come to campus to talk about industry, functions and their everyday lives.

However, before all this started I found for myself that I get stuck on a more philosophical question.

‘What do I want to do with my life’

I can and have come up with many answers to this but if you test it further with a ‘why’ then it becomes little more difficult. In fact if you ask enough ‘whys’ to a question you can almost reason that nothing you do matters in the end. The question then is ‘why’ should you do it? Viscous circle, isn’t it?

I hear a song, I remember a prose

And no-one showed us to the land
And no-one knows the where or whys
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb towards the light

Why does everything have to be justified to be done? May some action precede reason? What if some instinct is a source of your action? Hmmm. That seems reasonable.
Okay, fair enough. I decide to pick a cause, choose a path and refine it as I go along. But why choose one thing over another? This is where pink Floyd saved me. At least kind of; Listening to ‘High Hopes’ I reflected on my childhood dreams, limitless boundaries of thinking; dreams lost in real world and I reflected

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary

Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times

Apologies for the anti-climax but after all this I have decided to pursue ‘consulting’. I think it’s a great fit. Honestly it has come out after 3-4 months of soul searching, asking tough questions and looking blankly at stars in the sky (not exaggerating)

If you are looking for a good conclusion, let me tell you that in the end all this doesn’t matter. What matters is the Mexican party starting in 15 minutes and I got to be there for my friend and for the tequila shots. So let me buzz from here. My friend who is teaching me spanish will be proud when I say ‘bamos o tomar unos tragos’

Friday, August 31, 2007

First 2 weeks – Let’s get the party started!

Wow, we are almost done with first 2 weeks at Darden and they have been incredible. Cases, Learning teams, Class discussions, self-awareness/reflection exercises, career counseling, club meetings, parties and sports have all kept us really busy, but boy! Did we have some fun!
We started out on Sunday August 19th with a cookout and got an opportunity to meet classmates and faculty that we hadn’t already met. Every one of us was still grappling with the names, our class being 300 odd strong. Monday was the official start and we kicked it off with meeting our section and section faculty. I am in Section E and my enthusiasm was turned to exhilaration on finding exceptional classmates exuding confidence but no ego; everything contributing to excitement and ecstasy for future.
‘Section E – easy does it!’

We were introduced to different departments, people to contact for questions and were informed about Darden and University norms. This was followed up with a career management session. Darden has an excellent approach to career search. It kicks off with finding about oneself, understanding strength and weakness, interests and motivation and then trying to make conscious choices about our future. The second day was purposefully kept similar. First couples of days were pretty much for orientation and getting us familiarized with Darden culture e.g. ‘the first Coffee’ and ‘High touch, High tone, High octane’ philosophy.

Wednesday, however brought an entirely different challenge with first hand exposure to the ‘case method’ and dreaded ‘Darden routine’. We had 3 cases to prepare for the next day and it took me from 2 pm till 6:30 pm to get that done. I grabbed a quick dinner before heading out to discuss cases with our learning team. I forgot to mention that we had already met our learning team the day before and I was totally thrilled with mine. We gelled together well from the start and had great chemistry. Unlike some other teams we were done with our cases before 10 pm.
We kept that up the next two days too.

Classes I must say have been fun. Since all classes are case based and class participation is graded, everyone was anxious to get their point in. Though, we kind of settled down as we went along. It’s great to hear different approaches to the same problem, different perspectives and see people narrate their related personal experiences. Almost every case we find few people related to the industry or the function or sometimes having had a similar experience. We not only learn the text but also learn from each other’s experiences. We learn to communicate better, to listen, understand and empathize. Videos, games and presentations make the class even more interesting.

Come ‘Thursday’ and the party starts with TNDC – Thursday night drinking club, an unofficial but obviously popular group. We had great fun partying till wee hours in the morning with other ‘dardenities’. Not a good idea considering we had an 8am class on Friday. Second years, as you expect, were chilling after their internships. We kept the parties going on Friday and Saturday. We also had an entire day of ‘team building’ activity. Learning teams were grouped into 2 and faced off each other in a variety of events to accumulate ‘feathers’ for prizes. The event was based on historical ‘Lewis and clark’ journey. Though it was pretty hot, we enjoyed our day in the sun and the healthy competition that accompanies such an event. In the end it came down to interesting and fun-filled poetry competition to decide the winners. The purpose was to get to know your ‘learning team’ better and build some team spirit and I guess this went a long way in addressing that.

We had some time to relax over the weekend (though not a lot) and came back to learning teams on Sunday. This would the first full week of the ‘Darden boot camp’ and we were all anxious to see how we fare. Things were not as bad at our learning team as we finished relatively early 9:30 – 10 pm and we even managed to start our own unofficial ‘ACDC – after case drinking club’. We’ll see how long that lasts. I hear that things weren’t as sweet across all learning teams. As the week passed we began to feel the pressure of the hectic schedule. This week we were fitting additional stuff in the afternoon including club meetings, 2 per day 30 minutes each. We were getting used to having no time to ourselves, sleeping very late and getting up early. Before we realized, Friday was here and with only one class followed by a section norms discussion, we got off early. Tomorrow we start the ‘Darden cup’ sports activities with ‘Flag football’. All the sections got together for some practice. I have a feeling that like everything else this is going to be good fun but little more competitive. Let’s see. Anyways, I need to get some rest before I head out. Ciao!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pre-school madness

Before I talk about what my first 2 weeks in Charlottesville have been like, I want to bring your attention to the recent Forbes ranking that put Darden 4th best Business school in the country. Yuuuuhoooooo!!

The school has not yet started but these past 2 weeks have given me every indication that the school belongs amongst the best. Here is the link to the Forbes ranking for more.
http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/16/best-business-schools-biz-07mba_cz_kb_0816bschool_land.html

Continuing on… so what has happened since you get admitted to one of the top MBA programs in the country? Of course your immediate priorities are
http://anandologue.blogspot.com/2007/04/things-to-do-once-you-get-admit.html
accept your admission and enjoy the admitted students weekend
http://anandologue.blogspot.com/2007/04/darden-days.html
quit your job and vacation and maybe travel a bit
http://anandologue.blogspot.com/2007/08/mysore-trip.html
Pretty soon, however, you are down to more serious stuff.

I landed in Charlottesville on 8th August. My roommate was already here so my apartment was almost set by the day I arrived. We were able to buy and move the remaining stuff in the next few days.

International student’s orientation started on the 9th with different groups taken us through student life, cultural aspects, career, and academic challenges specific to international students. We were also briefed on student visa, work opportunities, other regulations and university rules. The sessions over two days were very informative and it was quite fascinating to see classmate from all over bringing so much experience and diversity to the table. We were all just thrilled to be in such elite company.

The first week was pretty much lot of social activities and getting to know each other. We did have unofficial soccer and basketball games that seemed like a world cup with people from all over. Some of took foundation classes in Finance, accounting and Math skills. Darden requires us to clear pre-enrollment tests in each of them. Another pre-school activity was to complete 15 hrs (5-10 in actual) of self-discovery and assessments for career discovery purposes. Throughout the week leading to the grand opening we were joined by US students and joined in the fun evening activities. We feel truly welcome by all staff, student affairs and faculty and are pleasantly susprised to see them so well prepared and organized for us as we arrive. Faculty graciously hosted an evening event at their homes that just topped off the week for us.
The official welcome started this Sunday ( 19th) with a speech from our Dean Bruner. His speech has been aptly summarized by my fellow classmate - Christof, read here for more http://www.squaremethod.com/blog/. We then headed out for a class picture followed by a picnic.

The first couple of week’s activities have been really fun. All of us have enjoyed meeting our classmates and are really excited about times ahead. However, we have on several occasions be told about the rigor of the Darden program and its slowly beginning to sink it that ‘Time’ is one thing we’ll be very short of. At the same time I feel honored to be here at the prestigious University of Virginia and Darden School with so much tradition and so much to be proud of. When you walk the grounds at Darden, you cannot help but be awed by the brick builds that are symbolic of the foundation and prestige of the school. Looking forward to getting into the thick of things from tomorrow when we start preparing our first cases.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mysore trip

Cool breeze, partly cloudy skies and comfortable temperature made for an excellent start on Friday morning. We loaded our bags into the mini-van and were on our way by 10 in the morning. It had been a while since I vacationed with my family and was really looking forward to the trip. The plan was to spend most of the day at ‘Wonder-la’ a relative new but popular amusement park near Bangalore. We were in great mood but I wasn't expecting much from an amusement park, after all we were grown up now. Or, so I thought. As soon as we landed there we felt invigorated and quickly jumped on to the roller coaster. Getting rid of the early jitters we moved on to more terrifying rides; I particularly remember the twisting and somersaulting one called x-scream. The facilities at ‘wonder-la’ were amazing much to my surprise. The place was well maintained, clean and offered many eating, drinking and relaxing opportunities besides the rides. Done with the dry rides, it was time to get dirty or should I say "wet". We hit the water slides with races on the uphill racer, some tubing adventures and finally to the scary 'Vertical fall'. It was almost 2 pm and we were wondering where time flew by. After grabbing a quick bite we headed to the wave pool. Again it turned out to be more exciting than we anticipated. Tired, we ate some snacks at the restaurant and headed out. I speak for everyone when I say that we thoroughly enjoyed being kids again.

We journeyed onwards to Mysore and arrived at our posh hotel by 5 PM. After a quick shower we headed to ‘Planet X’ for some more entertainment. It was time for ‘Karting’ and though it was getting late and dark, we showed each other no mercy on the track. 'Olive garden' restaurant right next door lived up to its reputation in terms of cuisine. On this trip to India I have been trying out some Indian wines and Zinfandel from Nasik faired much better than others I had this past month. The dinner was great and prices were very reasonable.

Next morning we planned to head to 'Talakad' and 'Shiv Samudra'. The former is religious place on the banks of river Cauvery and latter a spectacular falls on the same river. We got lost on our way but had an insightful experience of rural Karnataka passing through dirt roads, villages and fields. We stopped several times to absorb the beautiful scenery on offer. Back on track, it was past noon by the time we arrived at 'TalaKad'. We didn't expect it to see anything impressive and this time weren't surprised even though the river was pretty full owing to heavy rains. The exciting part was the ride on the 'coracle', a small round makeshift boat that local fishermen use. Though the ride was relaxing there was a thrilling moment when the boatman does several fast 360 degree spin that almost makes you feel dizzy. Pretty soon we were on our way to our next destination, again enjoying every bit of scenery on route. ‘Shiv Shamudra’ falls were breathtaking and nothing close to what we expected of this little known tourist destination. The falls were split into 2, were quite reminiscent of the Niagara Falls and though not as voluminous they we still pretty comparable in terms of height. I think the excessive rain from this monsoon might have a huge role to play and they may not be the same spectacle a different time of the year. We spent some time there absorbing the scenery and taking pictures. But soon it was time to head back as we planned to reach Mysore before nightfall. We were back in Mysore by 7 pm. Exhausted from the day's outing we decided to stay at the hotel and spend some family time. There was some talk, some banter, some singing, dumb-charades and everything was captured on video. Nothing in the video, I hope, would ever make it public as it would be very embarrassing for some participants. Enough said on that topic.

Day 3 was supposed to be fairly simple and relaxed. On the list was ‘Mysore Palace’ and Infosys Mysore campus which has of late become quite a tourist attraction. We reached Mysore palace too early. It seems that it doesn't open till 11:30 am. We only caught a glimpse of the magnificent palace from outside before we had to skip ahead to the Infosys campus. Those who know me know that I used to work for Infosys not long back, my brothers (elder and younger) still do. So we got in and experienced first hand the spectacular architecture and facilities it had to offer. The office has in its campus a training center for over 5000 trainees along with hostel facilities for over 2000. It is also development center and has facilities such as multiplex, swimming pool, gymnasium, recreation center with pool, bowling alley, sauna, table tennis room, lawn tennis courts, badminton courts and the list goes on. It spans over 400 acres. I guess anyone who visits would be swept of their feet seeing such a spectacle. I recommend that you take any opportunity you get to see any of the Infosys campuses in Bangalore, Mysore, Pune or Chennai and you will see what I mean.
For more try ‘Infosys Mysore’ or ‘Infosys Bangalore’ image search on google
Or check out
http://www.infosys.com/gdm/gallery.asp
http://www.infosys.com/gdm/gallery2.asp

After some time enjoying the luxurious facilities we ate lunch at the on campus restaurant. Funny thing happened there. I met a colleague from a client side that I have worked with for the past year and a half and though he had mentioned earlier (before I quit my job) that he might be visiting India, I couldn't in my wildest dream imagine we might bump into each other. And there we were. It’s a small world! Isn’t it?

Relaxed and entertained, we headed back to Bangalore later that evening.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Indianapolis - US Grand Prix

We left mid day Friday hoping to get to our hotel near Indianapolis before 1 am. It was supposed to be a 10 hour drive but with breaks it took a little bit longer and we only managed to get to our hotel by 2 am. Thankfully the SUV we rented was very comfortable.

We got up early next day in a hope to catch the early races and every bit of the qualifying. We drove to the campsite and parked our car. The camping stuff was all left for later in the day. F-1 cars were already on track with pre-qualifying practice and we could hear the loud roar of their engines from outside. We entered through the GATE F which was at the end of the start finish straight. The practice was over but we were just in time for the formula BMW race. The race was competitive and proved more exciting that we had anticipated. As soon as the race ended we headed for the stand opposite the paddock in hope of catching a better view of the formula-1 qualifying. We were there with our cooler filled with beer and drinks and right on time.

Formula-1 cars were a class apart, their engines deafening, with shining armor and lighting speed they almost seemed out of this world. We were totally thrilled and amazed as the cars zoomed around in a bid to set the fastest time. McLaren’s were setting the pace in the first and the second qualifiers. It was no surprise they set up scorching laps to grab 1-2, Hamilton at pole and Alonso second. They left hapless Raikonnen and Massa in their wake at 5 and 3 respectively. I have watched formula-1 racing for many years but seeing the action from the track is a different experience altogether.

Hot sun ensured that we took about an hour to set camp. There were hundreds of campers in that campsite from all over the world. Unable to bear the heat and direct sunlight we lazed away in our AC SUV till the sun came down a little. Then it was time to cook some delicious snacks, play soccer, Frisbee and the finally more cooking, dinner this time. Camping was more fun that we had anticipated. Later that night we had fun playing poker in a clearing between our tents.

Next morning, rested and enthused, we headed to the tracks for the race. We had booked tickets for corner 6 stands which was supposedly very close to the track and were in time to catch the driver’s parade on antique convertibles. I couldn’t believe we were seeing Raikonnen, Alonso and other driving by right in front of us. The stadium was packed and as with yesterday we were ready with our cooler and refreshments. We got our beers out as we keenly awaited the start of the race. The start of the race was exciting but we had to catch that on screen as we didn’t have a great view of start –finish. However, we were more excited to see cars speeding on corner 6 and we had a good view of the first quarter of the circuit. It was close amongst the top runners with Hamiliton leading from Alonso. Mid-field racing was more exciting as Fischella in particular, after a laggard start, was on the limit and overtaking at every opportunity. Corner 6 was his favorite as he overtook from both inside and outside. We didn’t mind and cheered him all the way. Top runners continued in the same fashion with some minor re-positioning after pits and Hamilton went on to win the race. I must remark that it is truly breathtaking to see the cars from so close and you can easily tell the difference in speed and sound of a formula 1 car as compared to others. When I say others I mean race cars on a race track!

We were very pleased watching the race first hand and I hope I get to catch the race in a European circuit and check out the atmosphere there. If you are a racing fan this is a must!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Movies I watch

Ratings: 5.0 Excellent 4.0 Good 3.0 Average 2.0 Bad 1.0 Avoid

Recent

Michael Clayton - 4.0
Darjeeling limited - 4.0
Eastern promises - 4.0
There will be blood - 3.5
Assisnation of Jesse James - 4.0
Dan in real life - 3.5
Friends with money - 3.0
Gone Baby Gone - 4.5
National treasure 2 - 3.5
Charlie Wilson's War - 3.0
Great Debaters - 3.5
High School High - 3.5
Into the wild - 5.0
The notebook - 4.0
Trainspotting - 4.0
Requim for a dream - 4.0
Harry Potter andChamber of secrets - 2.5
Harry Potter and Sorcerer's stone - 2.5
3:10 to yuma - 4.0
Rescue Dawn - 3.0
American Gangster - 3.5
Transformers - 2.5
I now propunce you checuk and larry - 3.0
Superbad - 4.5
Knocked up - 3.5
Science of sleep - 4.0
I am legend - 3.5
Blades of Glory - 3.5
In the Land of women - 3.0
The Lives of Others - 3.5
Flying Scotsman - 3.5
Bheja Fry (Hindi) - 3.5
Madagascar - 4.5
Yuva (Hindi) - 3.0
Shootout at Lokhandwalla(Hindi) - 2.0
Ronin - 3.5
The Sentinel - 3.5
Number 23 - 3.0
Malice - 3.0
The English Patient - 3.5
Thank you for smoking - 4.0
Butterfly effect II - 3.5
Memento - 5.0
Pan's labyrinth - 3.5
Ocean's 13 - 3.0
The Machinist - 3.5
Equilibrium - 3.5
Surf's up - 3.0
Shrek the third - 3.0
Shooter - 2.5
Sunshine - 3.5
The Pursuit of happyness - 4.0
The Last King of Scotland - 4.0
The Good Shepherd 3.5
The Prestige - 5.0
The Departed - 4.0
Blood Diamond - 4.0
Crash - 4.0
Factotum - 3.5
Smokin' Aces - 1.0
Borat - 2.0
Black Dahlia - 3.5
Usual Suspects - 4.5
The Station Agent - 3.5

Favorites
The shawShank redemption - 4.0
The good, the Bad and the Ugly - 4.0
Schindler's list - 4.0
The matrix - 5.0
American Beauty - 4.0
Apocalypse Now - 4.0
Auberge espagnole, L' (The Spanish Apartment) - 4.0
Seven - 4.0
Forrest Gump - 4.5
Terminator 2 - judgement day - 4.0
Life is Beautiful - 5.0
Braveheart - 4.0
Fargo - 4.0
V for Vendetta - 4.5
Gladiator - 4.0
Butch cassidy and the Sudance Kid - 4.0
Casino - 4.0
Pirates of the carribean - 4.0
Final destination - 4.0
Butterfly effect - 4.0
Jurrasic Park - 4.0
Aliens - 4.0
Braveheart - 4.0
The Truman Show - 4.5
Platoon - 4.0
Ice age - 4.5
Ice Age II - 4.0
Shrek - 4.0
The godfather - 4.0
The Untouchables - 4.0

Others
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 3.5
The Pianist - 3.5
L A confidential - 3.5
Blow 3.5
Catch me if you can - 3.5
The incredibles - 3.5
Silence of the lambs - 3.5
Quand j'├ętais chanteur (When I was a singer) - 3.5

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Illinois Adventure trip

We needed a getaway, a road trip; something adventurous yet relaxing. Of the many options we finally settled for Illinois countryside that seemed to have quite a few adventure sports on offer. A group of seven, we started early on Friday, rounding of shopping for essentials before heading on towards Illinois. We had rented a spacious Mini-van to allow us the luxury of indoor games en-route our 8 hour drive to base camp i.e. Morris. My attempt to describe how much we enjoyed the drive would be futile as the excitement was literally captured in the confines of the mini-van. Put some heavy rockers together with loud music and there is bound to be some head banging. And what do I say about poker enthusiasts? Well we did also have a picnic on the way with a not so competitive soccer game and even friendlier Frisbee throw. It was a wee hours of the morning when we finally arrived at Morris.Good night sleep later we were ready for some adventure activities.

Our day started late and mood was somewhat dampened by bad weather which prevented us from either skydiving or river-rafting. However we did find that we could go on a river cruise by renting a Pontoon. Thrilled on this opportunity we hurried to our destination. Renting formalities completed, we all jumped on the boat with food supplies. After taking quick instructions from the staff, I pulled the boat from the Dock and headed downstream. The weather was great with temperature around the 75 F and a good cloud cover. We took turns behind the wheel of the pontoon and being our first time we were all excited to steer the boat. When not at the helm we sat in the front with feet hanging over the edge and enjoyed the ride or lazed over the deck enjoying snacks we brought onboard. Cool breeze made us relax and this was totally our idea of a perfect getaway. Moments of silence and harmony were interrupted by motor boats speeding across leaving ripples in the water that rocked our boat. It was amazing as simple things such as these and passing scenery generated so much excitement and delight. On our way back, still half an hour from the dock we were treated to some heavy downpour. Pinching drops of heavy rain made it difficult to stand but like kids eager to get wet in the rain; we enjoyed every bit of it. Until we got too wet and shivered with cold. Our landing couldn’t have come soon enough for us. Drenched but merry we enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at the Captain cove’s inn. Quick pit stop at our hotel was followed up with a visit to the downtown Morris which was all but a few blocks on a single street. Few drinks later it was time to call it a night.

Bright and sunny Sunday morning could be more aptly put as the lull before the storm. It was our day to go skydiving g. The group was keen, enthusiastic, excited and more but at the same time anxiety was evident. Understandably so, not often do people jump of a plane albeit with a parachute. We arrived at skydive Chicago around noon and got right down to the paperwork i.e. pages and pages of disclosure agreeing not to sue or hold responsible should anything go wrong. Not the most comforting feeling. Anyways we got that done and were ready for our instructions. They were pretty simple actually – keep good shape, look at the horizon, check your altimeter and pull your parachute. We kept the instructor on his toes with some clever questioning “parachute always opens, doesn’t it” “has anyone died doing this?” He was obviously impressed by our display of courage. Nevertheless we did get down to business after an anxious wait for our plane. Our instructors’ help us put on the jumping suits and we were joined by our cameraman shooting the videos. We walked down to the glider that was going to carry, ahem how many 20 people, really? 20 people, but this is such a small plane. Yup we sat on the plan packed on each other’s laps. The engines spurted and hummed but got us in flight, barely and we wobbled our way to 13,000 ft when the doors opened. 3 pros smiled, waved and jumped off, their bodies disappearing in a jiffy. Okay whose idea was all this? It was too late to bail. So slowly, I mean real slowly and one by one we crawled to the door, counted to 3 and jumped. So here is how it feels in words.

Jump….ahh…woooooow…what a view…falling fast…oh the wind….get your hands extended…wind is killing me, breath breath…the cameraman…lets pose…..oh the Hat check….look at the altimeter…find my parachute cord….look around…everything’s fast…everything’s stationery……..cameraman…pose again…what abt 360…here it is…..look around….oh..ughh.. Whats that jerk …damn its 4500 ft and instructor pulled the cord, should have checked altimeter. Within 60 seconds of the jump we had fallen 8000 odd ft. With the parachute open there was this amazing calm and an excellent view which we could now enjoy. Take a deep breath! ‘How about some maneuvers’. ‘Lets try a red turn’ a right one and then a left one. Few minutes later it’s time to prepare for the landing and what a sweet one that was. Incredible, amazing thrill. I am not sure if this describes the experience. I guess only way to get the nostalgic feeling is to do it yourself.Cameraman caught me on the ground for a brief interview for my video and then I joined my friends for victorious hugs and congratulations. Awesome experience. Try it!

We knew that nothing else we did on the trip would match this experience but we tried anyway. Next of the list was canoeing and kayaking which we thought would be a relaxing experience. Four of us (3 bailed out and camped instead) rented a canoe and a kayak, wore our life jackets and headed upstream. River was calm, scenery was good and it was all very pleasant and soothing. Except for some speeding motorboats. Paddling upstream did take some effort and soon we just hung out the oars and lay down in our boats, soaking every bit of the calm nature experience. Few hours later we were nice and relaxed and headed back to shore. We met up with our team and chilled for a while under shade of a tree where they were camped. With the day drawing to a close it was time to head back home.

It was Monday and later that day we had to start heading back to Minneapolis. We did have one last event planned. It was wine tasting at local winery in Utica County. Small town of Utica had an almost artificial, Hollywood set feel to it. The local winery was known for its fruit wines but we weren’t going to restrict ourselves to those. We picked up our mark sheets and pencils and sat down at the Bar. Starting with the dry red wines, off-dry, fruit and then the dessert wines we tasted most of the 20 wines available on the list. 5 of us started the tasting, 2 bailed out in the middle and 3 that completed it including me, I must say were very shaky on our feet. As expected the really good tasting wines were the fruit wines and sweet wines but couple, I must remark were delightful. Impressed, we all bought a fair share of our bottles. Drunk, it was now time for food and we had a sumptuous meal at a local restaurant. The whole day had a very nice relaxed feel to it, very unlike our previous day.

All of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience and left content on our way back home.Looking back I think we got exactly what we expected from the trip - some adventure, some travel, some sightseeing and whole lot of relaxation. You have to do this every once in a while.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Clear admit - Best of Blogging Award

Well! i am made it to the list, just about. I ranked no.10.

http://blog.clearadmit.com/2007/04/best-of-blogging-2006-2007-results/

I am plesantly suprised as i didn't expect that my unformed thoughts, unverifiable facts, garble and not so funny jokes would be worth anyone's read. There alleast a 100 applicant blogs of which 25 were shortlisted in the applicant category. I feel priviliged to firstly have been nominated and more so to be a part of the top 10. Thank you Clear admit for the nomination and all the panelist who felt my blog was worthy enough for a vote

Going back in time I can recollect that i started blogging for the following reasons -
To
> Create a travelogue or my journeys and journal of other significant events in my life
> Improve my writing skills
> Get inputs on my career/MBA plans and strategies
> Network with like minded individuals

It has helped in all these aspects and more. If you are thinking of starting one or have not updated yours in a while, I'd say go for it.
Remember
You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do, but by what you have done

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Darden Days

My "Darden Days" started with the First Coffee on Friday morning. Though I would have loved to get it started one day earlier with the TNDC, my weekday partying made certain that I was exhausted enough to skip an early start at Charlottesville. I was traveling with Anoop, my colleague from work and to be Darden’09 buddy.

We picked up our registration packet, the laptop bag and other goodies (including Darden days t-shirt) and walked into the Pepsico forum. We got busy introducing ourselves to our to-be classmates and also caught up with the ‘first years’ to get a detailed account of the "boot camp" and life at Darden in general. It was an interesting gathering and I think I can speak for all when I say we were thrilled to find such a diverse and competent class. We were called upon to attend and experience the case method in action. Some obliged while others continued chatting. We were able to escape for a bit to have a look at couple of housing options (Ivy and Jeffersonian) that were right next to the school.

The first official event on the list was the International students welcome lunch at the Abbott dining center. This gave us an opportunity to interact with career panel, first year international students to gauge life at Darden from another perspective. After a sumptuous meal it was time for the UVA tour. We were taken to the main grounds and rotunda which is the epitome of University of Virginia. A tour guide provided us snippets of rich history that is the synonymous with the university. On returning from the tour we found that the housing fair awaited us in the piano room. Having already made up my mind to take up a place in the adjacent Ivy gardens, I wasn’t particularly interested.

The events that were to follow, however, had my full attention. The student panel provided some light hearted anecdotes of life at Darden. There were some interesting questions and even more interesting answers. A query on grades elicited the following response
“This is a B-school, everyone gets B "
On the rigorous boot camp “you work hard, you sweat but no one has ever died here!”
Student panel also shed light on curriculum, clubs ad association and how the environment at Darden was so dynamic and flexible. Overall, a great insight!

For the career panel we headed to the room of entrepreneurs, session hosted by Philippe Sommer, head of Batten Institute. The panel was elite group of Darden alums that went on to do their own thing. I am must remark what a thrill it was to listen to their stories, anecdotes and how they got to where they were. There was some interesting Q and A in particular one that stuck in my mind.
Question - What do you do about your backup plans when you take the risky route into entrepreneurship?
Answer - You don’t have one. It gives you an easy route out so makes you more vulnerable to bail out.
Another answer - “Well, your backup plan is mostly that I can take care of myself if this doesn’t work out”
I guess the question really is, what’s your risk appetite?

Now the good part, ah yes…It was evening and things started with “cold call” Cocktail hour combined with the Student club fair. Great weather, free beer and delicious snacks all made for a good time. It also gave us an opportunity to check out some clubs of our interest. Interesting fact we learnt was that ‘first years’ have very little involvement in club activities and that did surprise me a little.




At 7:00 PM it was time to join our hosts for dinner (based on sign-up earlier). We had a group of 6 for an Indian restaurant called “Milan”. Food was good without being “special” but I stilled thoroughly enjoyed dinner and conversation. The final social event of the evening was the gathering at “Starr Hill” at corner. Corner is a part of downtown with all the bars where most of UVA crowd hangs out. The place we went was booked exclusively for Darden. With the first years, second years and the incoming class, the place got really crowded and loud. It was fun for a while but being exhausted from all the activity through the day, I left a little early.

For some reason I thought that my camera was better of in my bag and I failed to take any pictures the entire weekend (these are borrowed). Through this and other incidents detailed in the post I am sure we’ll all establish that I am not one of the brightest in the class.

Day 2 was supposed to start early at 8:45 am with the welcome and keynote speeches and it did, but just not for us and many others. We didn’t make it to campus till 9:30 am and but managed to catch the performance by “Cold Call Chorus” The first song was CCC version of some popular song; I forget the name but do remember that it was amusing at the time. Pleasant start to the day was then followed by more serious stuff.

At 9:45 am we took our seat in assigned sections (alphabetically) for presentation and q and a by Student’s Association, Career development council and 2 more groups (I forget the names but one talked about all social events for incoming class) The hour long session was well organized and coordinated and presenters rotated across rooms. Student’s Association presentation was the one I liked as they highlighted the openness and flexibility of the Darden culture and the role SA plays in improving the quality of life and education at Darden. As with every event there were some interesting questions but nothing in particular I can recall now.

Next was the much awaited case discussion on "Ben and jerry’s ice-cream company". The case drew lot of participation, assertion, arguments, counter-arguments and discussion. Though the opinion was divided and we weren’t able to reach a consensus, the exercise highlighted how powerful a tool ‘case-method’ really is. I am sure the whole class didn’t realize how the hour and half passed. It was lunch time and again we were to head to Abbott center for a lunch sponsored by GE Fanuc. I happened to be chit-chatting and strolling and hence reached when most people were already seated. So I sat at the only table available, which I realized later also happen to seat the host and speaker Maryrose Sylvester President and CEO of GE Fanuc and our admission director Sara Neher. I tried best not to be overawed and carried on with my casual inquiries. I just couldn’t help reflecting at the world of opportunities that lay in front of all of us and gave me a feeling that I was on the right track. I got over my Goosebumps and finished my lunch.

Next on the list was the Professor’s panel and I was really looking forward to meeting and hearing from some esteemed faculty members. I was absolutely taken away by friendly, approachable and light-hearted nature of the professors. They answered questions in earnest and quoted a few anecdotes. In response to slightly awkward remark by one of the incoming class on “students pay for the faculty”, (I don’t exactly remember the context) there was a good comeback by one of professors “My friend, you are going to be cold-called in the class a lot, so that you get your money’s worth” and the class erupted in laughter. It was all good in the end and I felt reassured that the professors were really committed to teaching and would be there to help us whenever we needed something.

We skipped the afternoon options (Housing fair, Housing fair bus our and club meetings) to get some rest in hotel room. We were back at 6 pm to catch the Bus to “King family Vineyard” for party and barbeque. The short trip provided us an opportunity to get a glimpse of the natural beauty at Virginia. The view from the King family vineyard was even better. The vineyard was surrounded by green pastures and had the ‘Blue ridge’ mountains in the backdrop. We absorbed the scenery as we stepped inside the main building into the huge tent erected up for this party. We were handed our take home “Darden school” wine glass. There was lot of food around but we were keen to taste (if I may use that word, ‘Drink lots of’ is more appropriate) the wine on menu. With almost everyone from incoming class, first years, second years to faculty, staff and family, it made for quite a big gathering. Good food, good wine and great people made for a thoroughly enjoyable event.

That pretty much brought the eventful weekend to a close. We woke up late and caught the afternoon flight back to Minneapolis. All in all “Darden days" experience was fantastic. It was informative, it provided great insight what to expect at school and above all it was enjoyable. If I wasn’t already sold about Darden before coming here, this should have done it!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Who Handles Break-Ups Better?

Ok this post is way off to the side. I came across an article on yahoo and I think its a very crisp and to the point answer to the above question. I wanted to write abou this topic when one of my friends was coming out of a break-up and I could see that she was hurt. I always found that women feel hurt and have an immediate emotional reaction but have a definite plan to move on. On the other hand men deal with it by ignoring or rebounding which does not work well in the long run. I am generalsing a lot and obvuiosly this depends on people and personalities. However this is an interesting read.

http://health.yahoo.com/experts/menlovesex/29235/who-handles-break-ups-better

Something tells me that I am going to get some bashing for posting this. Remmember > someone else wrote this and everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Things to do once you get an admit

Party: Yes. This is a time for celebration. Make the most of it. Remember the extra drink you avoided so that you can getup early and write your essays? Well nothing can stop you now! Take the drink and ask for a Jag Bomb or kamikazee along with that!

Sleep: All the hours spent juggling work and applications are gone. Its time to catch some sleep. Don’t hurry into office unless you have to, and I know you don’t have to. If you have an alarm clock get rid of it.

Travel: Go around, cover the places that you always wanted too. Quit your job early if you can else take a long leave. But be reasonable you have a $100,000 coming up soon

Watch Movies: All the movies you missed cos you didn’t have the time. Yes go to the theaters, get the DVDs or take the Netflix. Get your hands on these movies and enjoy them.

Read:The list of books you wanted to read has grown long. Now its time to go through the list. Your Brain cells can use some exercise during this period too.

Get new hobbies: Its time for the new things you wanted to try. For me its been learning the latin dances – salsa, meringue, bachata… Go out there and get to it!

Network; Time to say hello to your to-be classmates. Don’t forget the first years cos they are the ones that will guide you through this maze.

Get ready for MBA: Yes there are things to prepare, documents to send, books to read, skills to learn and then finances and visa. Make time from all of the above for this otherwise you are in some deep…

Do nothing: Both you and I know how important it is 'do nothing'. We were always looking forward to this. Yes, you should have quite some time now to 'do nothing' but procrastinate. Trust me, This one’s important!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reader's corner

This is an attempt to capture and critic some books I have read and would recommend. I will try to keep this updated with what I am currently reading.

Here is a list to start off. Reviews will come later.

Recently Read

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance(Philosophy)* - Robert M. Pirsig
Ultimate Question(Business)** - Fred Reichfeld
Lesson from Private Equity(Business)** - Orit Gadiesh
Elegant Universe(Physics)*** - Brian Greene
Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman(Biography)*** - Richard P. Feynman
The Ten Day MBA(Management)** - Steven Silbiger
The Goal (management)*** - Eliyatu Goldratt
The Google story(Business)**** - David Vise
The God of Small Things(Fiction)*** - Arundathi Roy
Survivor(Fiction, Philosophy)** – Chuck palahniuk
Black Bodies and Quantum cats(Physics)***** - Jennifer Ouellette
History of Philosophy(Philosophy)**** - Julian Marias
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Self Improvement, Philosophy)** - Richard Bach
Globalization and Its Discontents (Economics, Politics, Globalization)**** - Joseph E. Stiglitz
Fight Club (Fiction, Philosophy)**** – Chuck palahniuk
Sense and Sensibility (Literature)**** – Jane Austen
The Broker (Fiction)*** – John Grisham
Atlas Shrugged (Fiction, Philosophical)**** – Ayn Rand
The Prometheus Deception (Fiction, Thriller)*** – Robert Ludlum
Monk who sold his Ferrari (Self improvement)***** – Robin S sharma
Who moved my cheese (Self improvement)** – Spencer Johnson
Sons of Fortune (Fiction, Thriller)*** – Jeffery Archer
Prison diary (Autobiography)*** – Jeffrey Archer
Jason Directive (Fiction, Thriller)*** – Robert Ludlum
A Painted House (Fiction)** – John Grisham

Old time favorites

The Greek Key**** – Colin Forbes
Kane and Abel***** – Jeffrey Archer
Day of the jackal**** - Fredrick Forsyth
Fourth Protocol**** – Fredrick Forsyth
Bourne ultimatum**** – Robert Ludlum
Juggernaut**** – Desmond Bagley
Landslide**** – Desmond Bagley
The Spy who came in from the Cold***** – John Le Carre

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dinged at Duke

"Puzzled" is how I would describe my reaction. Just when I thought that I was close to figuring out this "MBA apps mystery" and adjudged myself as a firm candidate for admit to Duke, this happens.

As a re-applicant, I took a feedback interview. My essays reflected improvement in those areas and overall too. I think my application was much stronger. To top it all I visited the campus and my interview went really really well. Naturally I was extremely confident that I would get in.

I was inclined to pick Darden over Duke in any event. Eventually this result might not have mattered in any case except for a "feel good" and confidence booster.
Hmm....Maybe they sensed my inclination!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Duke(Fuqua) Visit

I took a late evening flight to Raleigh-Durham airport on Thursday, Feb 15th and landed a little later than planned. It was pretty late by the time I reached my motel, driving the car I rented at the airport. I had no reason to worry as I had to be at campus by 9:45 AM and Duke was only 15 minute drive away It was good to have planned this all upfront and my earlier Tuck and Darden visit experience proved all too helpful here. Though this time around, I was traveling alone. I woke up late and leisurely got suited and booted. Then checked-out from my motel and drove to the campus. It’s not hard to find your way around Duke but I still managed to make a couple of extra rounds. Parking apparently is somewhat a problem at Fuqua, especially for visitors. Visitor parking was 10 minute walk away.

Class Visit
I walked into Fox Center and found my way to the admissions office. Surprisingly there were quite a few people there which I should have been expecting, being the peak interview time for Round-2. Given the option, I picked “decision sciences class thinking it would allow me to compare class with that of Darden. My escort guided me to the class and introduced me to the professor who, I must remark, looked pretty young. The class got underway and it was a day for presentations. Supposedly popular real-life case on an “olive oil businessman” was discussed previous class and today teams would be randomly picked to give their analysis and recommendation. The mood was buoyant and light hearted but participation had to be solicited by the professor at times. I enjoyed the class and also understood most of what was presented. The structure of this class does not allow me to compare with Darden but the difference between case and lecture method is evident. Another important to note is that laptops are not allowed in class, which can be good or bad depending on the way you look at it. Fuqua class is around 65-70 and quite a few people were conspicuous in their absence.
Lunch with Students
After class it was time to head down to the cafeteria for the lunch. Student escorts showed us the way around and sat down with us for Lunch. They candidly responded to all our questions and shared their experiences. It did seem that they were trying to give a frank and accurate picture of life at Fuqua. It seems that most activities in the first year are centered on the school. Many students stay at school from early morning to late evening. Interesting fact I learnt was the students find it easy to interact with students from other sections and do form relations. But as expected this would depend on your own initiative and involvement. I enjoyed the lunch, chat with other applicants and first year students.

Campus Tour
Next on my schedule was the tour of the campus. The infrastructure at Fuqua seemed impressive, especially compared to Darden and Tuck, which I did experience first hand as well. The school does have funds at its disposal! We covered the classroom area, library, meeting rooms, conference center and other things that one would expect to see. Nothing struck me as special or distinct compared to other schools. Not that anything was bad, just that nothing registered as special. Most of what’s there at the school, you should be able to find in the brochure. Unlike the Tour of the campus at Tuck where the “Tuck Culture” really came out as spectacular, Fuqua tour was more like a sightseeing trip. It could be partly to do with the fact that it was afternoon, I just had my lunch and was sleepy.

Interview
Other things covered and complete, it was time to wait for my interview. I sat by and chatted with other applicants. A first year student showed up to give us company and answer questions; I found this very considerate of the admission committee. Our interviewers arrived together and precisely on time. We were escorted to the interview rooms the floor above. As per the norm it was an interview with second year student and she began by laying out a structure and things she would like to cover in the time we had. This was very thoughtful especially compared to other student interviews that I did find to go a bit hap-hazard. The interview was conversational with the standard what, why, how questions. We covered everything from my professional background, co-curriculars, interest, short term and long term goals, why MBA and why Fuqua. I was very satisfied with the way the interview progressed and especially with my answers. There weren’t any questions that stumped me but it’s not surprising in an interview of this format. 45 minutes later we were back at the admission office. I thanked the staff and headed back to my car.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the day progressed and felt that it was well worth the visit.

Monday, February 12, 2007

In at Darden!

For over 2 years I have read blog postings after blog postings on applicants excitedly sharing the results of their Hard work. "I am in", "I got the call", "my status changed..."
I always wondered when my time would come and how it would be like.
My time has come.

I am in at DARDEN

It is yet to sink in though. I was expecting this call but still feel a state of inertia on the celeberation front. Today I got my mailed offer letters, I browsed the incoming student website, i have joined the discussion and the realisation is beginning to sink in. Few months from now I will be back in school.

However, I am still awaiting Duke and Harvard results and of course waiting on the Tuck waitlist. I will withdraw from Tepper(Waitlisted for the Second time)

Finally i would like to say or rather shout"yuuuhoooooo I am in, I am in!!"

P.S> I can't believe that I don't have to write anymore essays. It was was becoming second nature like eating or sleeping

Friday, January 05, 2007

Which schools do I apply to now?

So this is what it comes down to? I applied to the following schools and here is the latest

Tuck – EA - waitlisted
Tepper – R1 - waitlisted
Duke – Missed R1 but pu app in by Nov, R2, Result by 8-Mar
Darden – R1, result by 9-Feb
Harvard – R2, result by 28-Mar-07

As I planned upfront, I am now going to target a backup school – Georgetown (Feb 9 deadline). Few days back I realized that I may be dropping down too low without exploring the schools in the middle, i.e. between Tepper and G-town.

So which schools can I now apply too considering that I am International applicant and must(mostly) apply by R-2 deadlines. Narrow them down further by good general management curriculum and consulting placements. What else can I do to maximize my returns… Should I apply to some higher ranked schools too?? (risky considering I don’t have an admit yet?) Few questions I have to find answers to and quickly.

As of now I am looking at –
Marshall USC(Jan 15), Mccombs Texas(Feb-2, rolling)

Suggestions/Comments are welcome

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