Progress

UCLA Acceptance and Tuck Interview

Since my last post a lot has happened in terms of my path towards my MBA, so I will summarize these events and bring my blog up to date in 1-2 posts.

The Dec 14, 2015 week was quite rich on decisions for me as evident from my previous post. But no day during that week was more memorable than Monday, the day of my UCLA decision and Tuck interview. Most schools schedule the calls based on geo locations of admitted students, so Asian and European students are among the first to see that magical +1 … on their phone screens, so I was quite confident that my Skype interview with Tuck will not conflict with my UCLA call (if I was to receive one). So after coming back from work I set up my Skype, got dressed up and added my Tuck interviewer, in a few minutes the call was made and I was facing my interviewer, a member of adcom. Very sweet and friendly lady was looking at me, while being located on the other hemisphere (just think about that, progress is an amazing thing!), but the picture froze and then again, we had difficulty hearing each other, so we decided to turn off the video, then tried to call again, then again, then I called her from my phone, then she called from hers, this was quite a challenging interview, and I would lie if I tell you that I can write good enough to sparkle in you that feeling of frustration that I had in the beginning. On top of that, when we finally overcame technical issues – I got another call, I tried to cancel it, but my phone decided otherwise and answered it while putting my first line on hold, and guess what, it was a call from Anderson! They informed me about my acceptance and congratulated me on it, I had to rush that call so that my interviewer didn’t have to wait for me listening to god know what kind of music. I think that I’ve noted a bit of disappointment in my Anderson caller’s voice, as I didn’t sound very exciting though I truly was, but on top of that I was trying to figure how to rush the call without hanging up. Now that’s some juggling I had to do.

Not the best experience in theory, but thanks to my interviewer being so nice and positive what should have been a horrible memory turned out to be a very exciting and fun interview to remember and by the end of it I was relaxed, though worried that I couldn’t fully demonstrate who am I and why they should take me.

 

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Decision week expectations

This week is most stacked in terms of decision dates; many schools will distribute their results, including some of the ones I applied to:

UCLA Anderson – it seems that admit calls will be made today (Monday, Dec 14, 2015), while final results will be communicated tomorrow. I am quite confident, my interview was pretty good, and so I think that final decision will be around ‘fit’.

Northwestern Kellogg – decisions will be sent out on Wednesday (Dec 16, 2015). Truth be told I think my interview was quite weak – it was the first interview I had and it was so soon (I received an invite almost immediately after submitting video answers) that I wasn’t as ready as I should’ve been and got caught off guard on the last question (“What else do you want to add?”). Let’s hope for the best.

Duke Fuqua – decisions are on Dec 17, 2015 (the day will start with a Star Wars movie for me, ta-ta-ta ta tata ta tata ta-ta-ta tata tatata ta taaa tata tatata tataaa tata taaaa). Again, I’m quite confident, but this decision will be similar to what I expect from Anderson – a ‘fit’ question and how I compare to peers with the same background.

Berkeley Hass – one is not like the others. I still don’t have an invite, and, considering that they already started calling, I probably won’t. And that is quite sad, truth be told – these were my favorite essays, I put a lot of effort and was sure that I will be at least invited, seems like I’ve made some mistake that I didn’t catch or that my approach to the school application was wrong. Maybe they didn’t like my choice of “The Times They Are a-Changin'” for my first essay, maybe my long-term goals seemed a bit too unrealistic to them, maybe underlying theme of my essays wasn’t as applicable to Haas as I thought, anyways I’m happy I had an opportunity to write these essays, but sad that I couldn’t build upon them during interview.

Some schools deadlines this week:

School Deadline R1 2015
Northwestern
(Kellogg)
Dec 16
MIT
(Sloan)
Dec 16
Pennsylvania
(Wharton)
Dec 17
Duke
(Fuqua)
Dec 17
UC
Berkeley (Haas)
Dec 17
Michigan
(Ross)
Dec 18
Virginia
(Darden)
Dec 16
UCLA
(Anderson)
Dec 15
Dartmouth
(Tuck)
Dec 17
NYU (Stern) Dec 15
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) Dec 14

Good luck and have fun!

First Dings: Wharton and MIT

Yep, after all of the invites this was a bummer. First I got a ding from Wharton on Nov 3 and then from MIT.

Well, with MIT I wasn’t really disappointed, because my app was really bad, I didn’t even plan applying, but their question was similar to one of my essays, and I thought: “Why not?”, I didn’t believe that I was going to apply in R2 anyways, so this was ‘now or never’.

MIT’s application was quite easy, they didn’t require TOEFL/IELTS scores (neither did I have them), so I decided to give it a try. They have this system with 8-9 criteria based on which they review each app, and the better ones get to be in top-right corner of their coordinate system.

Now, I understand that I have made some mistakes in my approach (because of the rush) as was expected. I don’t think that ‘optional’ essays were ‘mandatory’ as some say, as some people received invites without a single click on their videos/web-sites coming from MIT.

Anyways, great school, probably a great fit for a geek like me, but an expected result.

With Wharton the situation was somewhat similar in that I wasn’t planning to apply as I didn’t like a lot about the school and wanted to apply to only one of H/S/W, but the dates for Wharton were so convenient and I already had to skip H due to an early date and S as I didn’t like my essay. I had plenty of time, though looking back now I think that my essays were a bit too professional? It’s hard to tell, I really liked the work I did and I thought that I have a decent chance, so maybe they didn’t like LoR’s or my profile or something else, maybe my essays weren’t as good as I thought, maybe they didn’t like certain things that I said about my goals, I didn’t want to concentrate on Wharton being Finance school, maybe that was a mistake. Anyways, probably we will never know.

Wharton’s ding came first, at a date they scheduled (great initiative!) and I was crushed a bit, unlike with MIT, I have no particular answer as to why I was dinged, so it makes you think you’re overall profile is not good enough, which is quite scary.

Anyways, first decision date is soon, so my focus is on that.

I want to thank MIT and Wharton alums who I reached out to and who provided me with a lot of great insights (after which Wharton got higher in my personal rating and MIT dropped a bit lower) and advice.

 

Chicago Booth Interview

My first in-person interview! I had an invite pretty early on, but the interview itself took a few weeks to arrange.

Anyways, I met with a ‘0x alum, who joined MBB after graduation and recently left for another company. The meeting was held in a coffeshop downtown.

Alumna was very positive, nice and friendly. Really, my best interview, it was very informal, but I still was asked all the traditional questions:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • The most challenging project
  • Why did you change the jobs
  • Why MBA/Why Chicago/Why now
  • What are my ST and LT plans (got into great details here)
  • How will you contribute
  • etc.

Everything was very convesational, I made a point to show her that I’m very familiar with the school, professors, curriculum and overall reputation.

Actually when I was in Big4 and she in MBB, we worked for the same client, the one that she recently joined, so we shared some memories about some funny specifics working there. She shared her experience with the school, I asked a lot of questions and I think I really clicked with my interviewer. If that’s the type of people Chicago admits, then I’m sold.

Well, now we wait. Fingers crossed.

UCLA Anderson Interview

I have received the invitation almost immediately after they started sending them out, being an international student I was offered a Skype interview and a variety of dates, quite convenient to be honest. Unlike Kellogg, Anderson’s interviews are conducted by second-year students, who pass trainings before becoming a part of admissions team.

My interviewer has added me on Skype one hour prior to our interview time, which was nice, because with Kellogg I was worried, as I had been added a few minutes before the thing, making me uncomfortable.

Interview with a student feels different from an interview with an adcom member, I felt like it was more relaxed and not a ‘checklist’ we had discussed some of my points and he added his thoughts on them, which was great!

The questions were quite traditional:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • Why MBA
  • Why UCLA
  • Why Now
  • Tell me a story you convinced somebody
  • Anything you want to ask?

Overall, I felt that interview went quite well, learning curve at work!

So, here’s the updated status of my applications:

BS status 241015

Kellogg interview

Ok, this is my post, but I have already updated AboutResearch and Test Scores pages, I want to start by reflecting on my journey so far and bringing you up to date.

So far my status is as follows:

BS status

So, Kellogg was my the first school to interview me,

Location: Off-campus, Skype

Interviewer: Adcom

Duration: 45 minutes

Questions:

Why that undergrad school?
Why Kellogg?
Why MBA?
Why now?
Your most significant achievement at work?
Why you changed your job?
Is there anything else about yourself you want us to know?

Overall impressions:

The interviewer was very friendly and nice and allowed me to answer all the questions in full. This was my first interview and to be honest I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been, two major problems I’ve encountered: time limit, really 45 minutes is not enough and she had to intervene a few times, because I was taking way too much time; the other problem was the last question, for some reasong I couldn’t answer it perfectly and mumbled a bit.

I hope my application as a whole gives a better impression, and it also includes video answers that I tackled fairly successful.

Anyways, I am relieved and waiting for December to receive the results.