Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Apply or Not to Apply

When I first started applying to business school, all my research seemed to come back to the "top" schools in USA - Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg/Booth, etc...

At no point did I even consider the obvious implications of the global trend in business to come to the obvious (yes over-stated/redundant use of obvious :) conclusion - What about non-US based Business Schools - what about International Business Schools like IMD, ESADE, and INSEAD?

I have my better half to thank for this eventual epiphany, which occurred over a Thai meal in her apartment in Hyde Park. She was quizzing me on topics for essay-writing and we were discussing our common international background - India, Thailand, USA - all in the last 27 years...

From that conversation onwards, I could not stop thinking/reading/researching INSEAD.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Business School, like many key decisions in your life requires significant thought and perspective.

Two obvious questions:
1. Part Time vs. Full Time
2. Local vs. International

Another thought:
3. What industries you're interested in pursuing your MBA in - if there's a specific school to which you want to apply to for a specific program that you know is the best-in-class. You need to have researched several schools and attended at least a couple of info sessions so you can meet-and-greet admissions officers, current students, and alumni. The culture of a school plays a huge part in your desire to go or not go there.

Of course, you must consider your preparedness in the process:
4. GMAT - is the score in the acceptable range for question #3

5. Essays - what are the various essay topics for your school and others you like. They publish this quite frequently an there are tons of blogs and wikis on what schools like, don't like, and additional tips. My advice on this is to remember, very sincerely, that if you try to WOW someone and they are reading 1000s of essays, there is a relatively high probability that they can notice the "try to" part. You have to be true to who you are, or your answers will not flow and you, upon re-reading after say a couple of days/weeks can sense the lack of genuineness.

6. Resume - generally speaking if b-school is in your future you need something that displays your ability to see the bigger picture. I'm not saying get involved in Save the World because it'll look good on your resume - I'm saying, you'll look back at your resume and realize, "Hey - a career in Business fits my future as well..." because that is what the AdCom needs to see...

Finally you have to ask yourself:
7. Is this the right time? This includes life - your commitments and obligations, because once you start this journey you have to invest 110% of yourself. If you cannot do so, then you may miss out on several benefits...

It took me a while to come to the place that I was, but the idea was to answer all the questions with honest answers - look inside and say, "Am I ready?" or "Am I just trying something new?" - both are valid points and sometimes when you are trying something new you end up opening the door to a challenge that changes who you are and what you are capable of.

Look before you leap, unless you're ready to leap into the unknown and go with the flow!