OK. I am lit’l nervous right now, since now onwards there’ll be two persons who know me ‘in person’ will read my blog. Till yesterday there was nobody. Yes, I met these guys at World MBA tour.
I was saying NO NO to the tour till the day before the event. (Even today I know, it’s bit early for me to visit such forums. As of now I am planning to apply for class of 2011?) But on last day I said OK. My cell phone was on repair & had to go to the city to get it; also I wanted to meet an online buddy, coincidentally he was going to attend the fair. These reasons were enough for me to come to the city and attend the fair. But there was one more and rather important reason to attend the event.
All these days, months, I have been reading about these b-schools, was checking their websites reading numerous blogs and various online forums, I was contented with the stuff I have about this GMAT and international MBA thingie. But the knowledge (information) I have (had) is 2nd hand information. I never attended such event before; never visited any b-school and never a seminar or as such. Never seen a person, a b-school guy in flesh-n-blodd; how she walks, talks, presents. That”s about it. So this was the time so I thought to visit the fair.
I got a VIP pass from pagalguy.com. I appreciate this and I promise the forum ( here in public) to help and contribute, intellectually any way I can. Thank you pagalguy.com!
Since I decided to go to fair on last day, I was not prepared, neither mentally nor logistically or materialistically. I asked Iday the other day about what to wear. I know it’s a stupid question, but I think, this comes to everybody’s mind when he’s nervous or visits such events for the first time. ( and therefore I am covering this later in the post) I think formal wear + tie would be OK.
The day started and I realised that I dont have the list of the schools attending the fair. I requested in forums to provide the link. Apurv sent me the link. Thanks Apurv. I printed the list, invitation & the VIP pass.
Oh! Did I mention that my home is three hours away (by train 130 kms) from Mumbai? It was noon & I had missed 3 trains already. I was bit tensed since it was 6th dec. the death anniversary (is that a word?) of one of the founders ( actually principal founder) of constitution of India, Dr. B. R Ambedkar. People from all places of India come to the city and gather at a place called Chaitya Bhumi. (it’s in Dadar)
Train had already travelled more than 1500kms and was ultra crowded when it arrived at my station …as expected. I had no space to move my hip by an inch! I went to city STANDING all the way. Apparently the local train from Virar was not that crowded I managed to get a window seat!
HOW I APPROACHED TO THE FAIR (READ: PREPARE)
Then, in local train, Aim-WSC had some time to check the printed list. I’d shortlisted some schools. The main attraction was the Columbia. (Yeah! theres C in my userid!) I went to library @1725. checked www, checked some websites of the schools I shortlisted. I didnt check Columbia’s since I knew already what I want to ask. After checking the websites I again shortlisted the schools. The no. of schools reduced to very small number then.
When I checked the websites, I checked the tuition fees, living expense, fin- aid & scholarship school can offer, & approx. ranks of the schools from say BW & FT and lastly ROI. Now what ( /all) I wanted to ask there (and inquire about) at fair is alumni network and demographic distribution of alumni
By 1800hrs I was out of library heading to the fair. Am I late? Event started @1700.
From the reception counter on the way to the Hall I received many leaflets that I blindly put into my purse.
Purse? No! it was a jute hand bag actually, which some people including myself sometimes think it as awful. At least when you go to such ^posh^ area, you become even more conscious. I didn’t wear a tie. I had thought to wear it in library; ( library is my second home in the city) but on the way, in local train I met a college kid who was also going to fair wore scrappy shirt and pair of jeans. I said heck! I dont have to wear a tie. The reason: I am not gonna make any ”impact” there or something, I am just gonna sort of window-scan the b-school counters that’s it! So no tie for me, it’s still in the jute bag. A plain shirt, trouser with belt and leather shoes. A hand bag in hand & a pen in a pocket. That’s it. Perfect.
The first counter I saw in the hall was Columbia’s. I nodded assertively and smiled.
By the way did I tell you Dr.B.R. Ambedkar was from Columbia University. (probably the first Indian!!) It was bit crowded so I moved on without stopping @CBS. I checked entire hall (two halls actually). You can gain a lot just by overhearing the conversation, provided you blindly jumped in such forums without doing your homework. I checked U at Buffalo, state U of NY. Enquire about financing options. I shortlisted few more state colleges which I cancelled to visit once I was in the hall. I already knew most of the answers, rep was giving.
I would have been happy if Kellogg had come to the tour. The Kellogg site disappointed me big time (and maybe that’s why theres no K in my userid :D)
Some other big schools came, like Chicago GSB, Tuck, Darden. But I was not interested. Thankyou.
Now remains wharton and Columbia.
I just looked at big W’s stall, the most crowded one. Sigh! I never wanna go there. I know A to Z of W’s website. Heck I have been checking the site since I got the internet connection @home. I know I am crazy. But there are many crazy people around here, reading my blog :p
I had a healthy talk with one of the CBS alumni. ~20mins I was @ CBS stall.
Asked some questions about blogging ( yeah that’s right. You wanna hear it?) also whether adcoms do investigative job & check applicants other online activities? @ MySpace, forums or @ blogs et al.
The answer is NO. unless you specify about it in you essay. The other alumna also gave me strat on how to deal with such situations. Haa haa though I have no bad record in cyberspace it was for my other online buddies 😀
Overall the visit paid off.
Met Rohit and Sonam, these guys work for pagalguy.com thumbs up once again thanks for the pass, fellas.
My online buddy was in seminar which I missed. I attended some of the last part of the seminar which was cool. No regrets though, since I was talking with CBS people then.
I met the online buddy there were two of them. And together we complete another round in the hall. On return I saw a familiar face at the other side of the counter. I greeted him and asked whether we have met earlier? Yeah! the person has done MBA from of that particular school. I am so happy, Now. I was not aware that this guy is one of the alumni of my one the fav. School. THIS IS A BONUS.
And the best part is he’s in the same industry that I am interested in. that’s triple bonus!
BONUS BONUS BONUS.
Things I regret for:
- Not attending seminars, they were good and boy! it was Matt Symonds. yet was free of cost.
- Not taking down the address/ visiting card of alumni with whom I talked. But I know I will meet him sometime in future (the bonus guy, yes very stupid of me, not taking his card).
- And most importantly for not asking question to alumni about the total expense in MBA education. What I mean is, is there some truth in Forrest gumps BW finding?
- You can discuss about it here. Is really Harvard or to say any top notch school�s that expensive? $345000?
I think alumni are best persons to answer this.
So all you readers/ bloggers out there please tell me the answer, sicne I forgot to ask about it in the fair.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE ATTENDANTS:
- Make best of your trip. Do good homework.
- Bring a pocket notepad.
- Check with alumni & if day is good, ask for visiting card.
- Believe in yourself attire is not that important afterall, the place’s always crowded. But if you’re expecting instant interview, or have taken appointment of any adcom/person: wear suit. (And if it’s New Delhi: always wear the suit)
- The fair also showcase huge no. of scholarships for various MBA programs, get the forms filled & all the best!