Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Clear admit - Best of Blogging Award

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


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 -
> 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.
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.


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!

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