Said, Oxford

I can’t seem to fathom the reason for lack of vigor and enthusiasm these days. Specially with regards to the applications. I get easily distracted and disinterested every time I sit down to write my essays. It is silly to reach a level of saturation just after three applications!

I am definitely NOT being over confident here, about the interview invite from Tepper and McCombs. I’ve been having sleepless nights with endless questions that keep haunting me. Am I good enough? Will they see any worth in accepting me? Do my applications represent my potential? Is there something I am missing mentioning? Is my writing composition appropriate? Too bland? Too cliched? What if I blow up my interviews? How do I ace my interviews? Did I make a fool of myself in Tepper interview? What if I get rejected from everywhere? What if I end up with nothing?

My head keeps buzzing with the onslaught of such uncertainties and it clouds my thinking. Taking my mind off for some time definitely helps. Problem is getting the mind back to work!

Anyhow, I’m working on Oxford’s Said business school essays now. They are pretty exhaustive 🙂

I am particularly nervous about this one as Oxford is

  • one of
  • my dream destinations to study. What makes Said my dream B-school, I will soon write a separate post on it. For now my major worry is to ensure my essays highlight my personality and achievements as being a typical Indian IT female applicant, it is a real challenge to stand out from the other applicants. Not having an explicit leadership ‘title’ per se at office adds to my woes there.


    Tepper interview and other updates.

    So Tepper interview happened two hours back. This was my first ever interview and only God knows how many times I must have visited the loo during the day 😀

    The interview was much more relaxed than I was dreading. Also I managed to speak quite a lot, contrary to my apprehension of losing my voice. In hindsight I think I could’ve framed some answers better. But I am happy with the fact that I managed to speak well considering this was my first interview.

    The interview was with a young lady from Tepper’s admission committee. She came across as very friendly and warm person. Started by making me comfortable, asked me about the correct pronunciation of my name and what it means etc. The interview was very conversational in general and she was making notes throughout.

    The questions were pretty basic in nature:
    Why MBA.
    How MBA seems to be the next step to what I am doing currently.
    Post MBA plan.
    Alternate plan if immediate plan does not work out.
    What do I know about Tepper and how that interests me.
    My work and any interesting experience that I had with clients.
    Any conflicting situation at work, culturally or otherwise. How I handled it.
    My key takeaways from working in a multi-cultural organization.
    Any situation where I worked over something I had little knowledge about. How did I cope with it.
    Any situation where the client did not seem too happy with the kind of solutions provided. What was my learning there. How did I handle the situation. What could I have done differently.
    What are my personal hobbies.
    I had mentioned during the discussion that I am involved in diversity team. Asked me to describe my experience.

    I realized I spoke a lot, despite my mind going completely blank the moment the Skype call started :)
    However she was extremely patient and listened intently, while making notes all the time.
    She ended with asking me if I had questions for her. In the end wanted me to ask her “one last question”, despite the call crossing 35 minutes by then. I wonder what made her do that.

    My suggestion: Do not try to over sell yourself, definitely not talk about what you haven’t done. They are not looking for your achievements and awards but want to know if you will fit well with the kind of culture the Tepper community has to offer.

    So while I was totally fretting out last night over Tepper’s website trying to find any bit of information that may come handy in the interview, in popped a mail from McCombs inviting me for interview discussion! OMG. The same McCombs for which I struggled with getting my manager’s recommendation. Which by the way, he submitted only last weekend on 18th, that was 4 days past the deadline. I had lost hopes of my application being considered for the round 1, which would have meant I had effectively only one application in Round 1. Probably writing to them informing of my delay in recommendation helped. But now that it all got sorted AND I received an interview invite too, I feel much more better. Took some pressure off the Tepper interview too 🙂

    Next is Oxford’s Said business school., due 31st. I have yet to start on it. My ex-manager had asked me last week to help him with brief so he could recollect better. I had promised to get back to him in 2- 3 days because of other work, but it’s been more than a week and I have yet to get back to him on that. Since I wanted to give my best shot to this school, which somehow seems like a stretch to me, I finally gathered the courage to speak with my Product Owner as well. The talk with him went faaaar better than I had expected, he was very co-operative and encouraged me to give it my best shot. He also seemed a little disappointed that finally I have decided on pursuing higher education too. This has become a concern at my workplace as most of the college joinees have been leaving in a couple of years for MS, mostly. He said he was still happy that I was considering MBA and will support me there. That was such a relief to hear because I was sure that being product owner he’d start worrying about resource allocation issues among other things. The guy was kind enough to take time out from his super busy schedule to write a nice write up and submit it on his way to the airport before flying off for vacation at Thailand :’)

    That made me feel so special. The fact that you have at least a few people who support you in your personal goals.

    It’s Diwali time, so I’m going to take a little break for the next two days or so, and get onto Said’s application in the following week. I realized I badly need to recharge my mind after weeks of constant pressure about applications. Happy Diwali, folks!

    McCombs submitted

    Most likely they are going to push it to the second round for absence of recommendation. My confidence has plummeted suddenly and now I am finding it hard to concentrate. I’m also getting the feeling that I am probably no applying to enough colleges to safely land in one. Suddenly there’s a dearth of referrals. Everyone is off for Diwali vacations.

    There’s too little time. Too much to do.Amount of work piling up at office is not helping either.

    I’m off to sleep.

    Panic mode on

    McCombs is due tomorrow and my manager still hasn’t filled in his recommendation. Worse still, he went off on a two-week vacation!! Argh.

    Pestered him many times last week, he promised he’ll complete by Friday. He says the mail he received says he can fill in anytime in 60 days, however I am afraid the Ad-Com is going to push my application to the next rounds if it finds the recco missing.

    I am flipping. Arrgh.


    Working on McCombs essays this weekend. With the amount of work I have at office these days it is getting increasingly difficult to not push essays for the weekend. That unfortunately but invariably happens. So trying not to fret about it much. I am anyway known to be the most productive at the 11th hour, so be it.

    Some people who submitted for Olin around the time I did have already started getting interview invites. Few received admits directly, without any interview/discussion. My app status shows ‘under review’, which is making me a bit antsy.

    I feel less panicked about my essays this time as compared to Tepper. Probably because after first experience I feel more confident now. Except about my recommendation. My manager has still not submitted his recommendation and is going on a vacation on Monday. That means I will probably have to submit my application without a clue about what aspects would he touch upon in his assessment. Trying hard not to freak out.

    Oh by the way. I cannot stress on this enough. Talking to current students / alumni really helps. My essay went for a major overhaul after speaking with one of my acquaintances at McCombs. Sweet of him to have taken time off first thing after getting done with his exams. I feel drawn towards this sense of bonhomie among McCombians. Hope I get to experience it too!

    Happy Sunday. I am going to make sure I give my overworked brain a bit of break today.

    You got mail!

    I’m honestly more than surprised. Just two days into the submission and I hear from Tepper! “the admissions committee invites you to interview with a member of our admissions team.” Whoa! That indeed took me by surprise. Registered a slot for Oct 21st. One of my good friends got an invite too, so thankfully have someone to share the nervousness/excitement with.Have no idea what the interview is going to be about! Also want to get done with Mc Combs application before I start with the interview preparation full-on. I need to calm down.

    Tepper application

    Submitted application today. Just few hours before the deadline. Not completely happy with the way I rushed through things at the last moment, but satisfied with the way they shaped up.

    My essays looked well written, however I am apprehensive about certain points that I touched, rather some that I should have. How in the world does one write all that they need to write in just 300 words??

    Two takeaways-

    >   Refine. Refine. Refine. Although they accept 2 page resume, I should have force fitted my stuff into 1 page. Their format specifications made it difficult and I got egoistical about taking certain points out.nevertheless, for a 3 year work-experience, SHOULD NOT cross 1 page.

    > Need to learn the art of wordplay. Yes.