Making history... one application season at at time.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Torn - up!
I just finished a one hour editing session with a friend. We focused on my Haas essays. I chose this particular friend because he is an analytical, meticulous sort and he also works in a completely different industry than me.
Well, let's say my essays will take a turn for the better following this editing session. As I indicated in my previous post, the Haas short answers challenge the writer to compress key points into very brief space. My friend helped me with to identify the best examples/anecdotes to use with my key points. One good piece of advice was to not focus so much on what I have done (this is often covered in my resume and personal history forms), but to focus on exactly how a particular characteristic or element of my background/personality/work history will help me impact or contribute to a program.
My 'name a time when you were a leader' essay is going to be completely rewritten -- for the better. The specific example of leadership will remain the same, but I intend to expand the essay to describe key elements of the background situation that I left out. I also intend to expand on a few points on exactly how my actions made an impact.
Thank goodness for friends.
PupStar78, 9:38 PM
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Sunday, November 27, 2005
Holiday Weekend Progress
Happy belated Thanksgiving to those of you that celebrate. I was able to use the weekend to make tremendous progress on my applicatoins. Haas is 95% finished, well in advance of the December 12 deadline. All essays have gone through my girlfriend's stringent edits, and now lie in the editorial hands of a couple of friends.
Haas has an interesting take on its essays, breaking out some traditional MBA essay topics (what is your best accomplishment?; what is unique in your background?) into short answer questions of 250 words. I had some excellent content on hand from the previous year's essays for other schools, but each of those were the 500 word format. Identifying my main points and compressing these larger essays into the shorter format was a more challenging exercise than I anticipated. However, it was a productive process, helping me to really hone in on the exact message I wanted the reader to take away from each essay. In one instance, the process helped me to identify new, more powerful points and anecdotes to include. I actually think my shorter essays may be more powerful than the longer, similar essays I wrote last year.
I plan to make a return visit to Haas (only 20 miles away) this week or early next. I visited last fall as well. I have a couple of friends attending this year. They have been awesome resources for school-specific details.
Regarding my other two target programs, Wharton is nearly complete, per my update a couple of weeks ago. Kellogg remains largely untouched, although the main essay (why mba, why now, career goals) does share significant content with my main essays for Haas and Wharton (with the exception of any school specific detail), so I suppose I could say a portion of the application is underway. I plan to contact both Wharton and Kellogg this week to determine best methods for getting in touch with professional clubs and/or students pursuing my target career. I want to make sure I'm not shooting correspondence to the wrong individuals. The broader goal is to get some insider insight on students' experiences with each school's curriculums, clubs and career resources. This might be hard since I'm not visiting either school, but it's the best way I can think of to get more school-specific information.
PupStar78, 4:41 PM
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Deadline-initiated panic set in today. One month to Haas! Less than two months for Wharton and Kellogg!! A scheduled 10-day Northwest holiday vacation in between!!!
So, for what I feel like was the first time in a long time, I had a two and a half hour session of lucid writing. Wow! What a rush.
As I mentioned in previous posts, I think I placed far far far too much pressure on myself during my early drafts.
Strategy from here on out is staying late at work to get good writing in, then spending at least 8 hours a weekend on essays.
One hiccup -- I think I make too many assumptions when discussing my job. The reader may know little about agency PR and even less about technology companies. I need to keep this in mind.
That's it for now.
PupStar78, 8:57 PM
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I am nearly finished with solid drafts of each essay for the Wharton application. Essay #1 has been a beast with the writing and re-writing, but I am comfortable with it whether the submission deadline was this weekend or in January. I'm wondering whether I used the best example in the 'teamwork' essay. I am going to sit on it and revisit in a few days.
After this week I'm setting aside all Wharton essays to focus on the Haas application, which has a looming Dec. 12 deadline.
One logistical time saver: I don't need to send transcripts to any schools this year. Haas and Kellogg already have my transcripts. Wharton lets applicants self report college grades (until admitted).
On a personal note, I am in Week 3 of a new gym routine. I get up by 5:30 a.m. to hit the gym for a 4 mile treadmill session followed by weights. However, this makes me very sleepy very early at night, like right now. I have been doing most essay writing at work on the weekends. I do some minor editing and tweaks during the weeknights, unless I get a burst of energy. I don't know why I started this new gym routine during apps, but the exercise consistency helps me feel much better physically and mentally, so it was probably a good trade-off.
PupStar78, 8:29 PM
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Friday, November 04, 2005
Kellogg Info Session
I attended Kellogg's Silicon Valley Info Session on Nov. 2. The session included an admissions committee spokesperson and several area alumni. The session was broken down into three parts: academics, clubs/career services and admissions.
Following is a quick summary of the session:Academics -- Top-notch educators & coursework combined with student involvement:
Clubs and Career Services -- Professional guidance coupled with student initiative
- Heavy emphasis on team leadership skills;
- Lecture learning is combined with real-world application of the knowledge (see following on case studies, independent studies);
- Priorities are professor research and classroom innovation;
- Students are actively engaged in the learning process:
- TCE: teacher course evaluation: student feedback tool that is used in teacher reviews
- Students are considered co-creators in the curriculum
- Case study courses: opportunities within the curriculum where students can work directly with professors as well as executives inside companies
- Case study courses, LEAP, Independent Studies that are aligned with faculty members
- Pre-term courses on leadership in organizations.
- Student led conferences
- Student Professional Clubs
- help students stay connected to the industry of choice
- Community service is big
- Neighborhood Business Initiatives – help local non-profits
- GIM: Global initiatives in Management is a popular elective course
- Meet with local business leaders
- Joint Ventures for sig. others and spouses
- Career management: active for life
- Alumni network: get in touch w/ alumns in your field
- Career Services driven by ongoing input from students and recruiters
- #1 goal is most diverse class possible
- Encouraged to honestly talk about yourself and your background in your essays
- How rigorous has your work experience been: talk about it
- Why is it the right time; make sure Kellogg understands why it is the right time, what is your logic
- GMAT is seen as an indicator of first-year academic performance
- Know and communicate what do you really want to do with your MBA as you’ll be submitting your resume before you leave for winter break
- Really talk about who are you outside of work, what personal qualities
- Write to club leaders
The main theme of the session was easy to determine: student involvement and leadership. Seems like students have a hand in everything, from driving academic change to spearheading career services initiatives. The session was an enjoyable one, even though I endured 2 hours of Bay Area traffic before arriving. Turnout was good... I'd say about 135 people.
That's it for now... going to turn in soon.
PupStar78, 7:15 PM
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Incremental Progress, Target Change, Kellogg Session
Oh man what a couple of weeks. Essay writing has been pure hell. I think I've been placing too much pressure on myself to draft works of greatness. Certainly last year's rejections have contributed to the self-imposed stress.
The good news is that I finally I had a breakthrough this past weekend -- cranking out some good material that I can move forward with.
In other news, I had some conversations with a close contact at Wharton and decided to put an application in. I was a little hesitant, but he convinced me that I had a good shot at admission, assuming of course that my essays clear the bar.
In the interest of targeting programs that really "speak" to me, I am primarily targeting:
After these applications are finished, I may consider 1-2 more schools, including a safety school.
I purchased the Montauk book last week. Good essay tips lie within. I also purchased "65 successful HBS essays," by the staff of Harbus.
Tomorrow I am headed to a Kellogg info session in Silicon Valley. I missed Wharton's session in SF. I plan to contact the school and clubs to arrange conversations with students. I will not be able to visit Wharton / Philly before submitting my app. Hopefully an interview invite will gve me that opp!!
PupStar78, 6:44 PM
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