First two weeks

Hello readers, prospective MBA applicants and fellow students!

While it’s been only first two weeks of classes, it seems like forever with assignments due every class, tests on Sunday and heavy club activities. But it’s been more fun than it sounds. The most exciting for me was the Annual Business Plan Competition kickoff where we got to speak to many winners from past years and other students interested in participating including undergrads. Although the monetary prizes are the biggest attraction with ~275,000 dollars at stake, I would not underestimate the value of the participation itself. Its an intensive 6 months process till the end where the teams get grilled on business plan, marketing pitch, investment hunt etc etc. I am hoping to participate with some talented and interested fellow Sternies.

Stern Business Plan Competition Kickoff

What else? There has been crazy election times with students vying for Student Body Representation positions such as AVP, First year and Block leaders. Plus, there are individual club elections going on and I am happily interviewing for positions in Entrepreneurs’ Exchange Club (it rocks!) and waiting for some more. There’s also interviews going on for IMI (Industry Mentoring Initiative), InSITE fellowship – that I am participating in – and lot of other positions. Block professors are throwing parties for block students and interblock Olympics will begin soon. Now, I cant go in with details on all of these but if you are a prospective applicant and need more details, message me. Frankly, there are lot of things you can participate in and in the end, it is only limited by how much time can you devote. I feel I had applied to too many things and will need to see how it proceeds.

Other thoughts – I have not seen many scholarships going out and there would be only a handful with any kind of financial support in first year. So, be prepared to support yourself for at least one year if you are interested in Stern. While financial burden seems the biggest worry when you are applying, I would really like to share this quote from our Dean of Students during the pre-term closing ceremony: “Make a good use of these two years. If you are just thinking of getting a job somehow so that you can pay back the loans you may have gathered to attend this program, you are missing the point.”

Again, every student takes his own experience away from a business school and you must plan accordingly. While some are here to have fun and explore, some are more focused. You can design your own experience by getting involved in the things you like and using your judgment as to how much involved you want to be. There’s never an end to the parties, bar hopping and beer blasts; and same with professional and networking events every evening. You can choose how much and what do you want – which is the greatest part.

Location matters

I recently received multiple inquiries from prospective applicants as to ‘why NYU’? This either means they want me to do their homework for Essay2 or they cant believe a talented person like me went to Stern or something more enigmatic. I have 2 words for them – location matters. NYU may or may not be the best business school but it is in the best location possible for many lucrative fields. And why should you care that much for location? Because when it comes to recruiting and networking, there is a limit on distance and time and money you can spend flying. Dartmouth Tuck may have a very warm student culture and cuddly alumni community but you cant imagine traveling every now and then to Boston or New York just to meet a potential employer or meet an alumnus herself. The point I am trying to make is that MBA in current day is a huge investment and you should spend it at least in a place where you can get most noticed.

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MBA for entrepreneurs

I can’t fix everything, originally uploaded by Street_Spirit.

I thought now is a good time to wish luck to all 2011 MBA applicants as well as fellow MBA students since our official Fall session starts this Monday. Let me not blow it out of proportion but I am quite excited to be a student again especially an MBA student for I see lot of action lying ahead rather than just theory and exams. I am also excited because I think I’ve laid a good groundwork of what I want to achieve professionally and hopefully it will result in a more holistic experience at school. In past one year, my interest in entrepreneurship has increased leaps and bounds. To this effect, I planted seeds for 2-3 ventures in India in my last month’s trip to India. I will admit that the consequent thought of postponing my MBA plans did cross my mind fleetingly but after some deliberation, I find the pros of MBA outweigh it’s significant monetary and time investments. So, I am dedicating next 2 years to school and focusing on my ventures. I am hoping these dichotomous roles will inherently complement and feed each other.

Some quick words about my so-called venturing experience:

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MBA Reapplication: flashback

There is no secret recipe

Around this time last year, after my waitlist denials, I was debating whether to reapply for MBA or seek other paths. Being a career switcher, complications involved in H1B visa and poor job market made it clear within weeks that there was no other way for me. But more importantly, I figured out that only MBA can help me acquiring the important business skills that I lacked in my purely tech background. The lack of those financial and operational skills might come back to haunt me one day and how am I supposed to talk to an investor about equity stakes when I don’t know the right terms. For this and many other reasons, I knew an MBA is more than a degree and job finding agent.
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