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.

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.

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