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Quote for today

"You can raise the bar or you can wait for others to raise it, but it's getting raised regardless"

- Seth Godin

Back in Action

September 20, 2009

Its evident : I’ve not had the time to blog. Don’t get me wrong, its not as hectic as you think. At least it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re having the time of your life.

What I realize is that if I don’t blog often, there’s more stuff happening here in a week than what my entire blog covers so far, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on them. Hopefully my further posts wouldn’t be as few and far between.

Block 1 is over, and how. Great professors, awesome classmates, excellent study group, parties, alums, resumes, elevator pitches, NYSE closing bell, kegs, plan Bs, and .. more parties. I already miss the initial excitement that got us through Block 1. Block 2 is about survival. Its about settling in and figuring things out. Stretching yourself and revealing your top game.

Its exactly two months today since I came here, but it feels like a lifetime. A life that’s spent exactly the way it should be – learning, working, and having fun;all to the degree that only an MBA program can provide you.

When you fall in love with a school like Goizueta, its reciprocated in ways that will change you forever. With that thought, I need to move on to work on the Marketing case and wrap up Finance and Accounting assignments, and catch up with some sleep while its still dark outside.

See you soon.

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Winshaped

August 9, 2009
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You learn something new about yourself when you climb a tree high enough to get you dizzy and then walk out 5 steps on a narrow wooden board attached at that height in order to jump and catch a trapeze 2 metres away from you. When you see everyone in your group going ahead and giving it a shot. When you want everyone in your group to be successful when they jump. When you know everyone down there wants you to get rid of your fears and jump. When everyone around you is supportive of you doing your best. Thats the power of the Goizueta community. Its hard not to get overwhelmed by the experience.

Its just been 10 days since our orientation began and I can say without a doubt that coming to GBS has been the best decision of my life. I can’t be thankful enough to myself for having had the guts to go against the financial odds and months spent in apprehension about how things would turn out. The classes are yet to begin, but I know where I am now and where it can take me. The rewards are going to be endless.

You see how close knit people are here when alums who graduated years ago are ready to spend their entire evening talking to you about refining your elevator pitch, providing you with critical feedback and encouragement at the same time. You notice the intensity with which everyone from the school is involved in making sure you find your place here and that the time you spend here is invaluable in changing you as a person. When you get to meet 170 people who are going to be your family, 170 people who share the same Core Values, and you like them all so much that your biggest worry is how to find more and more time with each of them. Its also when you begin to realize why 170 is just the right class size for everyone to make the most of their time. When you get overawed by the cultural diversity that your Class has, the kind of strong experiences people have behind them, and the way it all comes together for each one of us to learn something new every moment that we’re here.

The orientation is officially over, with the last 3 days spent at WinShape, which has to be experienced to be believed. When you have to climb a 15 feet wall without ropes, you can’t do it without the help of your team. The excitement is not in you climbing the wall, but in helping everyone in the team do so. These are people you’re going to spend the rest of your semester with, and it gives you the confidence of being able to cross any such block that you may encounter in life.

Its time now to hit the party organized by the 2010s, before we get knee deep in assignments beginning Monday. The Class is ready to get their calibres tested in the coming weeks; but tonight, we are going to rock Atlanta !!

Week 0

July 28, 2009

Our MBA program got officially kickstarted yesterday with a two hour welcome program for the international students. I’ll get to that soon, but let me first tell you about the way the last one week has progressed.

So its been hectic, but enjoyable. The MBA Program Office had arranged for an airport pickup for almost all the international students, and the week zero has been all about welcoming us and making sure that we can settle down comfortably. The Director of the MBA Program Office has been helpful beyond words. There were day long shopping trips organized throughout the last week for furniture/groceries/bank accounts/phone connections/SSN office and almost any place that a student wanted to go.  We couldn’t have been made to feel more at home.

Over the weekend there were trips to some of the main attractions at Atlanta where we also got to meet other classmates for the first time. The laser show at Stone Mountain was amazing, and we did a CNN Studio Tour as well as enjoyed an unique experience at the Georgia Aquarium. By this time we were all set to start with the program, and all the international students got to meet each other at the school yesterday during the opening reception and it was an evening well spent.

Today was the second day of our orientation for the internationals where we received an official welcome from the Program Office and had our Class Introductions. We were made to think about our motivators and set our two primary goals for the next six months, just so that we work towards them and keep them at the back of our minds while we continue to absorb our MBA experience. The day ended with an introduction to speed networking, which is supposed to take place on Wednesday and is supposed to be pretty exciting.

The group of international students is extremely diverse, both in terms of nationalities as well as career backgrounds and interests. The group is small enough for us to get to know each other better, and big enough to span the entire world. I can’t wait to get to class again tommorrow !

We have all been assigned peer career coaches (from the Class of 2010) who have been helping us to refine our resumes before we send it across to the Career Management Center. So it won’t be long before we get sucked up into the flow of things. Time’s already beginning to speed ahead of us and we’ve just got started !  We’re in for some major fun 🙂

Let me leave you with a few pictures of the Jenkins Courtyard – its such a great place to hang out with your classmates and enjoy the Atlanta Sun !

@LantA !

July 22, 2009
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I’m at Atlanta, and liking it.

The flight was an ordeal, mostly because of their service which was non-existent. Apart from that and the doubly excessive luggage I was carrying, everything worked out smoothly. I had a senior from the school pick me up from the airport, which helps you in not feeling lost the very first day you arrive.

I have rented a tastefully done apartment close to the school. My laptop is here and the cell phone connectivity does work sometimes. I would be visiting the school for the first time today. The school is doing all that it can to help the students settle down and there are shopping trips organized for the entire week.

Its a new life already, when hunger precedes my meals, which are again just assortments of various edible stuff, and not meals in the real sense. Of course I’m missing everything back home, but there’s already a lot to do and a lot more to look forward to.

Its been a good welcome so far. Its time to get over the jet lag and venture around, meet more people, and stock up on food.

Its time, to get started.

This is it.

July 15, 2009

Suffice to say, its been quite a while. Hope you have all been good and burning lesser fuel everyday. Thats the way to go.

I went from having a good (yeah) job to a state of temporal professional inactivity since I last posted. The last few weeks brought mixed feelings – its not easy to leave something that has shaped your life in more ways than one. Yet the job, office, and my time spent at the workplace already seem very distant, like a nice chapter of the book of my life which I enjoyed while it lasted – the chapter that brings to close the Volume until now.

This is it. The time I had been waiting for. The vantage point from where the future appears the most interesting. A potent mix of uncertainty, diversity, and endless thrills. Of ambitious goals, self-discovery, and risking it all. Of learning, unlearning, and yearning for more. Of welcoming change, embracing novelty, and moving on undaunted.

With less than a week before I embark on my journey, it all feels surreal. Leaving my country for any period of time has always had a profound effect on me, thats how attached I am to it. Plus the last few days spent with friends & family, as I pack my bags and prepare myself for whats to come, have overwhelmed me. Its when I wake up everyday to realize that I’m a day closer to the big event of my life, and a day closer to being thousand miles away on my kid’s birthday, that the irony of it all strikes me. I can’t be sad anymore. In the larger scheme of things, these are sacrifices that have to be made. From where I stand, its in my interest to only look ahead, and to make the most of the future thats waiting for me.

This brings to an end my pre-MBA story. The show begins next week, to be relayed to you directly from Atlanta. Thank you for your time and support, I will make sure that its been a good investment for you.

Let the music begin.

Prelude to an MBA – 2

June 22, 2009

My MBA seems to have already begun. To start with, I’m not getting enough time for myself, the to-dos keep piling up, am connecting with new people all over the place, and spending more and more time online – engaged in MBR – what I call an ‘MBA based research’.

The school’s keeping us busy with a number of essential activities, and doing a great job of propelling us into the MBA mode.

Sometime last week, the thought crossed my mind that I should discontinue blogging. The blog’s fast becoming a vehicle of mundane updates, and thats not how I intended it to be.The moment I decide to expand it, there’d be a plethora of things which manage to catch my attention, and all of them would swarm me for a mention here. Hopefully though, the blog would move from the documenting of my journey to more of my opinions on all things MBA.

That brings me to the anonymity question – once I’m at school, there are enough clues in my posts for someone to recognize who I am, hence what if I don’t remain anonymous anymore ? To be honest, this never bothers me. Gone are the days of Internet1.0 where we used to bask in glee over fancy avatars and secret identities, when anonymity was one of the Internet’s USP. Thats been one of the sweeping changes brought over by the social media, and it speaks about the behavioural changes of how the post-Internet generation took to broadcasting their lives like fish to water. If you want to participate and partake in the information based economy, its time you made your social presence felt online. Internet2.0 fosters a give and take relationship. The blog’s just a window to let a bit of air inside, and just like in the real world, you can’t stop people from peeping in. It would however be naive for someone to think they know me from what this window offers. I would consider the blog successful if I am able to speak my mind and give you an uncensored, unabridged version of my story during the next 2 years. Its going to be fun.

Acing your GMAT

June 8, 2009
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My tips for acing the GMAT are short and simple. This is what I would suggest to anyone planning to take the GMAT soon –

a) There is an overload of information and materials on and off the internet, all promising to guarantee you a near 800 score. The preparation material you use is important, hence you need to be wise here. The only reference thats important is the Official Guide and the 2 GmatPrep tests. Here’s why.

b) The thing about GMAT is that it can go against your perception. Thats why, if you begin to use mock tests and other preparatory materials widely available, there’s a high chance that your perceptions about the question pattern would be shaped by them. Use ONLY the Official Guide for finding and understanding the pattern to the GMAT questions. I repeat, ONLY the Official Guide. Every other material is fine for your practice, but not for finding the pattern.

c) So I’ve been stressing on establishing the pattern. Try this – Day 1 – take the GmatPrep 1, and list down the numbers of the questions you got WRONG. Lets call it List1. Store the list somewhere. Do not analyze your test now. Day 5 – take the GmatPrep1 again, and prepare a similar list for the questions you got WRONG again. This is List2. Now carefully go through the questions you got wrong twice. Note the type of questions, and the reasons for getting them wrong. Then move on to all the questions you got wrong in either attempt, and repeat your analysis. Focus your mind on these question types, and soon you’d have established your answering pattern. You can repeat the exercise with a dozen questions from each section from the OG to confirm the pattern.

d) There is no trick involved in the step above. You need to understand that the answers to some of the GMAT questions, especially Verbal, would be different from what you think. Even when you are looking at the right answer. The idea is to establish whats wrong, and how to get it right. This, for me, was the key. You can now practice as much as you want from other sources, but to get the most accurate idea about your score range and your answering pattern, always remember – only OG and GmatPrep !!

e) Approach the test with the belief that you would answer every question correctly. The correct answer’s out there, and the time, as long as you plan it well, is with you. The first few questions decide your score range. The next few decide which end of the range you lie. The last few decide whether its going to be 10/20 points higher or not. So they are all important – don’t lose your guard at any time. Get into the habit of staying focused for 4 hours at a stretch. If you need to choose, do 20 questions per section from the OG on one day at one stretch instead of 10 questions a piece everyday.

f) Do not ignore the AWA section. You wouldn’t require a lot of practice for it as long as you prepare smartly. Avoid the tendency to switch directly to the main questions while taking a mock test. AWA marks the beginning of your test, and it’d be in your advantage to start well. Practice at least a couple of tests by completing the AWA first – just to ensure that your focus remains sustained even after an hour or so that it lasts.

Thats the essence of what I would recommend to anyone taking the GMAT. Go ace it fast; its one aspect of the MBA application that you still have control over. All the best !