SgHama's MBA Dream

After 2 years of what if's and worrying about the finances... class of 2008 here I come!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tuck deadlines & essays

They're out, finally! December round deadline is as expected. Phew.

Early Action:
Deadline - Oct 17, 2005
Decision - Dec 16, 2005
App for Tuck Funds - Oct 24, 2005

December Round:
Deadline - Dec 1, 2005
Decision - Feb 1, 2006
App for Tuck Funds - Dec 8, 2005

January Round:
Deadline - Jan 12, 2006
Decision - Mar 24, 2006
App for Tuck Funds - Jan 19, 2006

April Round:
Deadline - Apr 10, 2006
Decision - May 16, 2006
App for Tuck Funds - Apr 17, 2006

Essay Questions

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

2. Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?

3. Many highly effective leaders have noted that they learned more about leadership in times of crisis than in times of success. Discuss a significant nonacademic failure that you have experienced. What did you do that contributed to the creation of the problems you faced? How did you handle the situation, and what have you learned from it?

4. What do you most want others to know about you as a person? How do you hope that aspect of who you are will contribute to the Tuck community?

5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application. Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

Filipino farewell

I came back from the Philippines yesterday for good, and it was surprisingly bittersweet. Before I went I was bitching about the whole idea of being stuck in limbo for a few months, but after actually living and working in Manila, I think I'm going to really miss the place now that I've gone. After my fiancee came up to join me, we really made our little apartment home for the past couple months.

Memorable experiences include:

  • Tagaytay and its gorgeous landscape
  • Supermarketing in Landmark and SM
  • The restaurants, cafes, and bars in Greenbelt
  • Makati Cinema Square - Makati's own haven for cheap electronics, DVD's...
  • Working out at the gym - the first time I've worked out consistently following a program
  • Brooklyn Pizza and Yellow Cab Pizza Company - the best pies in the Phils (imho)
  • Riding the jeepney and FX
  • Last but not least, the warm and friendly Filipino people.
Salamat. Paalam na po. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

R1 or R2?

Clear Admit has brought up a very valid point about deciding on which rounds to apply for this year - consider the decision date in addition to the application deadline.

This was also something that I'd considered last month when trying to finalize my application schedule - I had decided to apply to Wharton, MIT, and Chicago in R1, and to Tuck in its Dec based on application deadlines, decision dates, and deposit payment date. However, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry so why would my case be any different? With the Chicago R1 deadline this year on Oct 26 (right smack in the middle of Oct 13 for Wharton and Nov 2 for MIT) instead of mid November as I'd originally thought, I'm honestly not sure if I am going to be able to pull together 3 applications in the space of 3 weeks.

So now, this is the tentative plan.

  • Oct 13 - Wharton (R1, decision on Dec 22, 1st choice)
  • Nov 2 - MIT (R1, decision on Jan 30, 2nd choice)
  • Dec - Tuck (I don't think this will change because of their Early Action round in Oct)
  • Jan 4 - Chicago (R2, decision on Mar 22)
Just have to pray that the often quoted advice of not applying to your 1st choice first (because it's usually your worst application) doesn't hold for me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Another step forward with recommendations

Got my recommenders lined up finally - the other two managers I was considering getting recommendations from are a-OK with helping me out. :) I've sent all 3 managers the application deadlines so they're aware of the timeline. I also forwarded them a presentation on recommendations prepared by McKinsey which includes pointers and a sample letter to give them an idea of what's required (first time for 2 of them). I'll need to get in touch with them again sometime towards the end of August once I get my application strategy together and I know what I want to highlight.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The beginning of an obsession

With the release of the essay questions for Wharton and Chicago, I'm starting to find myself thinking about what to write almost every moment I'm not occupied with something else. For the most part my thoughts are completely random and do not drive me closer to getting an essay in shape, but occasionally I'll have these flashes of inspiration and if my palm is lying close by, I try to record those down. Unfortunately most of the time I'm just worrying that I don't have any content, that I won't be able to structure my story coherently by the time the deadlines come about.

I know I still have another 3 months but given that I want to submit more than just one application in October, time flies especially with my incorrigible case of procrastination. It doesn't help knowing that some of my fellow applicants are already in the 4th or 5th drafts of their essays. Hmm. Maybe it's a good thing after all - something to jump start my lazy ass.

I've found reading other people's essays (from friends and MBA application guides) a good source of ideas for content and ways to structure the essays, especially the ubiquitous career progression/why MBA one. But I'll have to watch myself to make sure it's me coming out. I don't want to fall into the trap of taking someone else's work and just replacing the details.

On the personal front, there are a ton of other things happening in my life and I need to work on keeping my MBA fixation in check. I just spoke to my fiancee about postponing our honeymoon because we originally planned it in October, right in the middle of application deadlines. She's been really understanding so far and is ok about just going for a short getaway first, but I hope I won't cross the line. After all she IS more important than the MBA.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wharton essays

They're finally out - they seem pretty standard, so hopefully will be able to craft something meaningful with them.

Essay Questions for the 2006 Application

Instructions The Admissions Committee is interested in getting to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid, and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself.

First-Time Applicant Essays (this also includes those who applied for Fall 2003 or earlier)

  1. Required: Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect an MBA from Wharton to help you achieve these goals and why now? (1,000 words)

  2. Required: Describe an impact you’ve had on an individual, group or organization. How has this experience been valuable to you or others? (500 words)

  3. Required: Please complete two of the following three questions (500 words each):
    • Describe when you were part of a team where the group process and/or intended outcome failed. What did you learn?

    • Describe a situation where your values, ethics, or morals were challenged. How did you handle the situation?

    • Describe a personal characteristic or something in your background that will help the Admissions Committee to know you better.

  4. Optional: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London bombings

Just heard on the news about the bombings in London today. My condolences and sympathies to all affected. I hope that my fellow bloggers living in London and their families are safe and well.

F*cking terrorists.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Chicago essay questions

Essay 1: To complete, we require that you answer all parts of A, B, and C below. (1500 words maximum total):

  1. Explain the path that has led you to pursue an MBA as the next step in your professional/ personal development. What steps did you take and how did you reach your decision?
  2. What or who influenced your choice of schools? What criteria will you use to decide where you will attend? What is it specifically about Chicago GSB that is going to help you succeed?
  3. Describe your short and long term post-MBA career goals. What steps will you be taking in order to achieve your goals?

Essay 2: Choose one of the following two questions to answer (500 word maximum)

  1. Describe the most challenging team environment in which you have been involved. What role did you play? What impact did you have? What did you learn?
  2. Describe a time when you exhibited leadership skills even though you were not the designated leader. What was the situation? What skills did you utilize?

Essays 3 & 4: Choose two of the following five questions to answer (500 word maximum for each).

  1. How have you used your personal characteristics and resources to improve the lives of others?
  2. Describe a time when you felt a strong sense of purpose in your life. What motivated you? What changes did you make personally and professionally to achieve that purpose?
  3. What would you consider the biggest failure or disappointment in your life? How did you adapt your plans or move past that failure or disappointment?
  4. If you can spend one day as someone else, who would it be? Why? What would your day look like?
  5. To be successful in life, you must be able to distinguish between fleeting trend and genuine innovation. Tell us of a time when you had to make such as a distinction. What, if anything, would you have done differently?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Stanford application deadlines

From the website:

We have three application deadlines each year. It is important to note that:
  • Applications must be submitted online.
  • You may apply only once in any application year.
  • It is most important that you apply only when you feel your application is as strong as it can be. However, applying in the earlier rounds will allow more time to address some important issues such as financial aid and housing.
  • All application materials must be received (not postmarked or faxed) in our office by 5:00 p.m. PST on the deadline date.

Calendar for the 2005/2006 Application Year
All credentials must be received in our office by 5:00 p.m. PST

Application received by: Interviews: Decision posted:
Round 1 19 October 2005 Early November to
Mid January
19 January 2006
Round 2 04 January 2006 Mid January to
Late March
30 March 2006
Round 3 15 March 2006 Late March to
Mid May
11 May 2

Chicago application deadlines

From the website:

The Graduate School of Business Full-time MBA program admits new students in the autumn quarter only. We use a system of three application deadlines, with early applicants rolled over for consideration at subsequent deadlines.

2005-06 Full-Time MBA Admissions Deadlines
Application Deadline
October 26, 2005
January 11, 2006
January 4, 2006
March 22, 2006
March 15, 2006
May 17, 2006

R1 falls right in between Wharton and MIT. Crap... and I thought I would only need to work on this in November. I think the essays might be out already - tried to create an account, but got an error. Will try it again tomorrow...

First draft (not quite)

Took my first crack at the "Why MBA" essay yesterday, and I wrote all of one paragraph. At least I have something I can come back to. Slowly but surely it will get there. I don't have any outline or organized thoughts yet. I figure I'll just write about my career progression so far and where I think I'm going so I at least have some words down on paper. Then I can go back and edit. It somehow seems easier to get started that way.