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Friday, September 10, 2004

The first three weeks at Darden have been completely exhausting. Absolutely no time to spare.

I had barely settled in when classes started. The apartment was still a mess with lots of boxes remaining to be unpacked.

The first week was supposed to be a light week with everyone getting introduced to the case method, socials, etc. Due to recruiters starting their manhunt ever earlier, Darden decided to incorporate their "self-awareness" program (so one can zoom in on careers they want to pursue in lieu of pursuing I-banking, consulting, etc all at the same time). Though the purpose was benign, it ended up being more of a chore than anything else. But overall, I'm sure I gained some insight into myself.

The Learning Teams are not announced till the 3rd day of classes. So all of us had to wait till Wednesday afternoon to learn who were going to be paired with. I am lucky to have some good team mates..a portfolio manager, a CPA, a web developer, a consultant, a pension fund manager, and an engineer.

Classes start at 8:00 am and end at 1:10 pm. Learning Teams usually meet from 8 pm to 11 pm or 7 pm to 10 pm. Mine decided for the latter. So one less hour to study. We get our cases for the next week in our mailboxes every Friday afternoon.

The second week was when all hell broke loose. 3 cases a day !!! Are you kidding me?? Barely got the time to finish lunch and reading up on the cases before my learning team met. Wow. This meant that I was at school from 7:45 am till 10 pm!!!! Accounting classes started to give me the creeps even though I've taken courses. Gradually my amnesia melted away and I feel I am okay.

Week three has been full of club signing ups and free lunches. A second year student told us that we won't have to worry about lunches this semester due to companies and clubs continuously having presentations/briefings during lunchtime.

As for the classes, I've noticed that Organizational Behavior (OB) generally has the lengthiest cases and I frankly still don't know if I am learning much. I guess getting the thought process correct is good enough. I now find Business & the Political Environment (BPE) to be the toughest since Macroeconomics has always been very confusing to me. With some effort this weekend, I intend to catch up. Quantitative analysis (QA) is something I need to open my mind to. With my technical background, spreadsheets have been a breeze....But this has also been my downfall. When something is right up your alley, you tend to have some fixed and strong opinions about it. And with that comes a tendency to stand by your analysis no matter what. Something I'm making an effort in is having an open mind during the analysis.

As if all this was not enough, companies have already started pouring onto the campus. Next week a bunch of I-Banks are coming in and hogging the remaining free time we have. 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm for the afternoon presentations, and 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm for the second. We have decided to move our meeting times to 8 pm in light of that.

First Coffee (a Darden tradition where everyone meets up in the hall for free coffee after the first class) are also being sponsored everyday.

I've figured that the only way to keep up with all the happenings is to get a headstart on Saturday and read up on some of the cases. (There goes the remaining day !!!!!!!!!) :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

2 major events since my last post.

1) Moved in to Charlottesville (FINALLY!!). It was hell (the move of course!, not C'ville ;-) If not for my wifey, I dunno how I would have made it through. She did like 70% of the packing. I'm making up for it now by arranging everything in the proper place. The new apartment is absolutely beautiful...and I'm looking forward to spending the next 2 years here.

2) Got an internship offer from P&G this afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Am still in shock over it. I wasn't really expecting it (after my snafus) but it was a very very pleasant surprise. It will be awesome (to say the least) to start my MBA with an internship at hand !!!! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I wish I had one more week to relax (haven't done that in a while). Right now we are back in our old town tying up loose ends and meeting friends. Ahhhh....what a great feeling. :-)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I just realized that it's been a long time since I posted. The past few weeks have been extremely busy....finals on my Statistics and Finance exams, preparation for moving, and work. And if all that weren't enough, I had to spent a week at Procter & Gamble's Cincinnati office from July 25 - July 30.

The pre-MBA Summer marketing camp was really a blast. Turned out that I was among the 30 selected among 1200 !!! Wow !! (didn't know I was that good ;-)

P&G wined and dined us to no end at luxury places. Drinks on the house and accommodation at the Hilton in downtown! Tons of presentations, and even more introductions. Never thought I could get sick of socializing...but I did. The whole thing started out Sunday evening and by Thursday night I was absolutely exhausted. P&G is one of the few companies that actually gives you the interview questions, the format they expect your answers to be in, and the names of interviewers.

BUT....there isn't enough time left for preparing the Friday morning interviews (for next year's internships). Every day the events began at 7 am and ended pretty much at 12:30 am or so!! The case study on Wednesday night went on to the wee hours of the morning.

The interview was one of the worst I've attended. I'm an amateur stand-up comic, and having looked at that, one of the interviewer asked me to tell a joke. I explained to him that stand-up-comedy isn't about telling jokes...but still proceeded to tell him one. AND I forgot the punch-line !!!! And this was the beginning!!

The rest of the interview went rather well save for my rambling :-) In the end, the same interviewer asked me if I wanted to tell him another joke. Instead of learning from my first mistake and politely refusing, I, like a fool, started out again. AND FORGOT THE PUNCH LINE AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The results are expected to be released tomorrow..and I don't expect to get invited. :-) However, the whole experience did give me an idea about brand management and threw some light on my deficiencies in interviewing. Hopefully, I'll be able address them before companies start showing up on campus.

Just a week left before my move...and I'm sooooooooooooooooo excited. I think an MBA is like a reset button on life. You get to start all over again and hopefully get it right the second time around. Can't wait. :-)

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Ah! Finally mustered up the courage to type a rejection letter to my local university yesterday night. Feels good to have that off my chest. :-)

Have spent the last week sending Financial Aid stuff to Darden. They said it would be about 3 more weeks before I know how much Federal loans I'll be getting. It's my first venture into the Financial aid process in this country..and I have erred my way into the correct procedure.

Got selected to attend the pre-MBA marketing summer camp at Procter & Gamble. Contacted the Marketing club president at Darden and turned out she is currently an intern at P&G. Don't know what to expect at the camp, but I heard it's fun.

Next few weeks are going to be horrible. My evening classes & final exams, moving preparation, last-minute Darden paperwork, work-related benefits adjustments, and the actual moving itself. Grrrrr. I wish I could fast forward my life to August 20th.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Enjoying my last days at my company. No real pressure...except the one I generally create by procrastinating. We are in the middle of a huuuge mismanaged project. Lots of money...but no one is taking a step back to think.

So here are people, reinventing the wheel, rushing full speed till they hit a dead end, making a quick decision, rushing full speed in yet another...and then another roadblock. All the while, I'm doing nothing. Just waiting on them to spin their wheels and get tired. The whole project should take about 3 weeks. We are already into our 3rd month!!

"The rarest sense is common sense" - I can't believe how true it is in the corporate world. If only people could think and plan before they act. Oh well, it all pays the same (if not more) :-) Maybe I can help inject some sense when I get a chance.

Meanwhile, I'm planning to visit Darden next week to finalize some Financial aid issues. Figured I won't be able to attend without the dinéro ;-) Plus will get a chance to check out some apartments etc.

It's gonna be a nice summer. It is really the first time that I have had some time to reflect and take a moment to enjoy my success. And sometime next week, I'll have the gather the courage to tell the local university about my decision.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss !!!!!!!!!! Got the call last week. Was in MS at the time when I checked my message. Couldn't contain my joy.

Got my Darden mug in the mail today too with inspirational quotes written all over it (How'd they know I like quotes?). And a folder for transitioning into Darden. And the offer letter. :-)

Was checking out the resume books of all the current students. Wow...can't believe that I'll be interacting with such an awesome group of students.

As much as my local University woo-ed me with their friendliness and camaraderie, there is NO comparison. Am really really really thankful to God for making it happen.

Have NEVER missed the boat in my entire life...have always managed to get on in the last minute. Was the penultimate guy to get into the coveted new High school. Was the 59th guy for my Junior High scholarship. 60th for my senior high. Was the last guy from my state to secure a berth at the top colleges of the nation. Was the last guy to leave the country (don't even get me started on the incredible sequence of events that made it possible). And now this...

Somehow, I always had a feeling I would get in, in the very end. But didn't want to jinx it by saying it aloud. Throughout the process, my parents kept reminding my that history suggest that I wouldn't get a ding...and they were right!

The elation still hasn't sunk in yet...(even though it's been a week!)....but oh well, I have the entire summer ! :-)

Charlottesville, here I come ! :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Just got the news that I've been placed on the Top Tier of Waitlists at Darden. :-) Feels awfully good. I think I'm fairly certain that I won't be attending the local university. Looks like I'm good enough for Darden. If I get dinged this year...I'll probably apply in the first round for next year.

I can now have a happy trip to MS. :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Shot off an e-mail to the Director of Admissions at Darden yesterday night reiterating my interest in attending their school. Maybe it will be necessary element to tip the scales in my favor.

Also got a couple thousand dollars in additional aid from the local university. Without me asking!! It means that my entire MBA will now be 100% free....not a bad deal at all. They must have seen something in me for them to court me thus. Today is also the day when my non-refundable deposit at the local university is due. At least I won't feel as guilty considering how nice they have been to me.

Have been looking at a few investment banking jobs and their requirements. A few of them specifically mention that the MBA should be from a top-tier school. If only the local university was ranked a bit higher. :-)

What I learned in economics this semester comes to mind. I will have to weigh my opportunity costs of attending whichever school I decide on and then evaluate my options. Yupp...that's what I'll do. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Just found out that I have been waitlisted at Darden. Such news is supposed to be frustrating, but oddly, I am happy. :-)

Maybe 'coz it boosted my self-confidence. It means that I am good enough for admission. Just happens they don't have enough seats. Hmm...but wait a minute.....isn't that what the other rejection letters said too? ;-).

The news opens up interesting possibilities: maybe I can ask them to consider me for next year...they will have more places open....plus I can apply for scholarships....plus get done with 2 levels of CFA before I begin...plus get a promotion at work...plus pay off my car....plus get my permanent residency.

OR I can pay the non-refundable $500 at my local university and sit tight till July by when I will know from Darden.

I sense a lot of brain activity in the next 10 days.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Good News!! Just received my acceptance letter and scholarship from the local University yesterday. I'm a firm believer in whatever happens, happens for the good.

The upside of doing my MBA locally is that I get a free ride and hence won't be burdened with $70,000 of debt. Am still waiting on Darden. Just 2 more days to go :-). I think either way, I have my future pretty planned out.

Am doing pretty good at my current job. Lots of work and lots of OT. Am paying off my car in chunks. That way, now I'll REALLY have a free ride :-)

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