Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Haas (UC Berkeley) interview and visit

I was waitlisted in R1 at Haas (UC Berkeley). All waitlisted applicants have an option to "enhance" their application, whether by seeking additional recommendation letters, re-taking the GMATs, submitting additional statements, etc. Another option is to have an interview, which is an opportunity I jumped on since I wanted to visit Haas anyway.

I scheduled an interview on campus for Monday morning. I arrived with about 45 minutes to spare, and spent the time going through my notes over a coffee in a Haas cafe, Fifo. I made my way to the admissions office ten minutes before the interview, and settled in waiting to be called.

Since the interview was scheduled on campus, I was expecting to be interviewed by an Admissions rep. I was a bit surprised when a student sitting in the chair next to me got up on the hour and headed my way to introduce herself. Lauren was really friendly, and she almost immediately mentioned that she is an alumna of my current company, so I felt at ease right away. We found a room, settled in, and began the conversation.

The questions were exactly the kind that you would expect from an MBA interview:
-Why MBA?
-Why Haas?
-Tell me about a time you had to act on someone's feedback
-What are you most proud of?
(at this point, I mentioned that I moved to the States when I was 14, and I was very proud of how much I have achieved so far)
-As a follow up to the story, what was it that allowed you to succeed at that?
-Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult situation on a team
-Tell me about a time you took a risk
-Tell me about one thing that is not on your resume

Overall, the interview felt very conversational and not at all stressful. I am sure it did help that after my MIT Sloan interview a month earlier, I replayed the interview in my head over and over again, analyzing everything I said, so I was well prepared for the questions. And of course, having an MIT Sloan acceptance in the pocket was a huge confidence booster.

As far as advice goes, I cannot stress enough doing your research. Using specific examples (i.e., the Experimental learning project in Zambia sounds really interesting because...) will make the conversation standout, as opposed to a generic "Haas has interesting classes." And last, but not least - be yourself!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I already love Sloan

Since getting my acceptance phone call from Sloan AdCom member on Feb 1, I also got:
-Two phone calls from current students
-An email from a current student who is also an alum from my company
-A small business card holder from MIT SWIM (Sloan Women in Management)
-An MIT folder with misc information about Sloan and living in Boston

I also grabbed drinks with 5 other Bay Area admits last Monday. I am sure other schools "wine and dine" their candidates as well, but it does feel really good to be a part of this community :). Can't wait for the adMIT weekend at the end of the month.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Accepted to B-school. Now what?

Now that the shock of being accepted to my top choice program is wearing off, I am beginning to think of the next steps. For one, I need to sit down, go through my finances, and figure out how I am going to pay for the degree, as well as how much time off I can afford to take before school starts. Having had a comfortable salary for the past few years, I managed to avoid keeping track of how much savings I had. Sad, but true.

I also just went through my equity grant at work, and realized that if I leave before end of July, I'd be walking away from a significant ($xx,xxx) chunk of money. I have been dreaming about taking the time before b-school to explore the world, so that's going to be a tough decision. Ah, the golden handhuffs....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good news from MIT after the longest day ever

Wow, today was the longest day ever. It did not help that I was so nervous that I couldn't really sleep last night. But today - at 3:30pm (way to keep me on edge!), the coveted call from MIT came. I am in.

I think I experienced what it would be like to get engaged, as I was calling/emailing family, close friends, and everyone else who has been so supportive in this process. Thank you all. I feel lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Decision day for Haas (Berkeley)

Well, today is the day. Considering I have not been invited to interview, it's either a ding or a deferral. I had not one, but TWO separate dreams last night in which I was accepted to Berkeley. I cannot wait for this wait to be over so that I can sleep normally again.

UPDATE (as of 4:30pm): Yep, I am waitlisted. Oh well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh Haas, where art thou?

Haas (UC Berkley) R1 notification deadline is quickly approaching on Jan 27, and I have not yet been invited to interview. I would be very surprised if I was dinged without as much as an interview, as I truly believe that I am a strong candidate for Haas. Therefore, I am predicting (based on nothing more than rampant speculation on my part) that on notification deadline, Haas will ding some candidates and merge the rest with the R2 pool. Any takers on this bet?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cyber-assault on Google

All I can say is, wow. This feels like something straight out of a movie (The Lives of Others, anyone?).