Posts Tagged ‘admissions’

As I’m slowly getting sucked into the blogosphere, I’m starting to realize just how much material there is about getting into business school.  Of particular interest are the daily blogs of the people chronicling their quest for business school admission.  I practically have to sit on my hands not to post something a snarky comment on this blog.  Instead of actually trying to be a well-rounded, interesting person whose profile is appealing to business schools, these people are spending hours online writing blogs, reading blogs, linking to blogs, reviewing GMAT strategies, writing about writing their essays, debating endless strategies for interview prep.  Really?  To what end?  

What about me?  Am I becoming one of those bloggers who’s getting a weird thrill from the climbing stat numbers?  Would I rather write about the quotidian instead of going out and experiencing the world?  Well, I went to see Renee Fleming sing today.  If this were a blog about opera, or if there were a rant in it, I would write about that.  I also saw a wonderful French film Les Choristes.  It confirmed my fear that I do not know an ounce of French despite my best (read: uninspired) efforts with the Coffee Break French podcasts.  I also ate a tasty meal with my family that’s finally done brawling over the election outcome.  And then I spent the evening packing my suitcases for a trip to the old country to see about a boy.  But my wonderful day is entirely unrelated to what I want to talk about.  


So… what I’ve concluded is this: somehow simply getting into a business school automatically makes one an expert on the subject matter and therefore capable of giving advice to others.  And what’s more is that those others are taking that advice!  I’ve gotten hits from people googling “Is INSEAD hard to get into?”  

Out of curiosity, I googled this myself.   Whereas one can readily learn that HBS has an admission rate of 12%, and Stanford of 6%, INSEAD does not publish official figures figures.  Though in an 06 chat on accepted.com, the Director of Admissions mentioned that adcom accepts 1 in every 3-4. 

That kind of takes the wind out of my sails.  I was hoping that this cheateau-bound bunch was a tad more exclusive.  But I find solace in thinking that it’s quite a self-selected group already.  Most speak at least 3 languages already.  Most fit the international profile (son of a Moroccan mother and North Korean father, grew up in New Zealand, but now works as a banker in London.  That sort of thing…)  Most are headed to INSEAD to party.  Otherwise they’d be going somewhere dry, like IESE.  (Mom, Dad, calm down. I’m kidding, ok?)  

I don’t write this blog because I have some great insight to offer.  I write this blog because it’s therapeutic.  And I get off on that little map that shows where the hits come from.  It’s neat-o.


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I recently stopped by the old office.  I almost cancelled at the last moment, because it’s a huge pain in the ass to get to now that I don’t have a car, but mostly because I had conflicted feelings about going there again.  I gave notice nearly 2 months before I had heard from INSEAD; it was review time and I just didn’t want to go through the motions of setting goals for the following year.  My goals would have included something like, ‘quit job,’ ‘see the world’ which wouldn’t have been in line with what the company wanted to do.    

I needed a way to ensure that I would not stay in my job if I had gotten rejected by the school.  So I bought a one-way plane ticket.  

The idea came from my then four-time-ex (now maybe-no-longer-an-ex-but-I’m-not-sure-what-we-are-but-will-be-traveling-to-visit-to-see-next-week).  He told me of a company started by some of his friends.  https://www.stickk.com//

You join the site and commit a certain amount of money to a personal goal.  Like, $500 to quit smoking – something I highly advise to all my future European classmates – and you set a deadline.  If you don’t accomplish this goal, your credit card gets charged and you get to donate the money to charity.  I didn’t delve too deeply into it – I imagine the whole thing works (if it does) on the honor system.  In the event that you did not accomplish your goal, your money goes to a good cause.  It’s a little ass backwards that the charity is funded only if you fail.  But it’s a cute idea.  That was the rationale behind buying the ticket – I would purchase the airline ticket and if I didn’t get into INSEAD, I would still quit my job to use the ticket.      

While trying to find available dates on frequent flyer miles, the guy on the other end of the phone offered to come with me, promising delightful company. 

The joke around the old office was that I “give good phone.”  When talking to our company’s vendors or suppliers on the phone, I would inevitably invite some kind of personal digression.  A couple of times I even received gifts along with a product sample I requested – a laser pointer/pen, some candy – small, creepy mementos from lonely sales reps in rural Ohio [read: real America].         

When writing my good-bye e-mail, I still did not know whether I would be attending business school after I returned from my travels.   By then I had had a disappointing interview (only one, whereas everyone I had met had two) with a woman who barely gave me an hour of her time and seemed incredibly bored to be telling me about the “best year of her life.” So I was not feeling very confident that I would get in.  I was also too scared to re-read my application essays that I had written over the course of a week while nursing a 102 degree fever.  

It’s sort of a tradition at our office to write a good-bye e-mail long before you actually leave.  This way, for your last month, you get to be the center of attention as you talk about the exciting next thing you’re doing to everyone who is staying behind working for that jackass client on that project that just won’t end.  As I’ve no doubt established here, I’m a huge attention whore.  (Thus, I’m not feeling confident that I’ll be able to keep this blog anonymous.)  

Somehow, during my absence, the word had gotten around that I was moving to France.  But in the interoffice game of broken telephone, I was now moving to France to go to culinary school.  I was known in the office as a giant gastroslut and thus, culinary school probably went along with that image better than an MBA.

When I came back to correct this notion, people looked almost disappointed.  When I was leaving, jumping into the void, behind the admiration and support of my coworkers, I could see their thinly veiled amusement that I had gone nuts.  Now, MBA seemed like such a normal, rational thing to do (even if I am moving to such an unlikely place to do it).  So, fear not my friends with desk jobs, I’m already calculating the earliest I could pay off my loans so that I can quit my life again.  These days, I have an itch to move to Buenas Aires and dance tango all night.

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The long road to INSEAD

I know.  It’s over 2 months before I move into my villa (read: French for college dorm), start my classes, drunkenly stumble into a fountain at a chateau party, hit a boar while driving home, but I’m already joining the throngs of bloggers who write about their experiences.

Already bored in my pre-tirement, I’m looking to put off the delightful pre-reading (“Essentials of Accounting” and some such) and blogging provides a cheap, self-flattering means of expression.  And, I already have a lot to say about the process of getting to INSEAD.  I need a place to vent my frustrations with the visa process, the scholarship allocation, the useless INSEAD intranet, and the state of women’s fashion. 

But first, things that you should know about me:  I’m a girl.  I still call myself that despite the recent troubling trend of store clerks and bank tellers calling me M’am.  Just because I occasionally wear clogs and put my hair in a bun…

Depending on how the election goes, next month I either [will/will not] be proud to call myself an American.  

I’ve never been to France.  In fact, I’m pretty intimidated by the idea of living in France.  I’m already having dreams about mis-pronouncing something on a menu.  I am, however, pleased that I’ll be living in a country where it’s not sexist to call someone mademoiselle instead of madam.  I’m also super excited about all the charcuterie and offal and bread and cheese and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.    

I’m getting my MBA because I got bored at my job, of living in the same city for way too long, and wanted to live abroad.  The MBA seemed like the intellectually lazy way of doing the next thing while ensuring a doubling of my salary on the back end.  That’s the cynical view anyways.  The less cynical one is that eventually I hope to start my own company and will actually learn the things that are useful to that end while at INSEAD, while also partying a great deal.  

While I wrote very convincing essays about “why INSEAD” and not some other business school, the real reason has more to do with the timing and the costs of the damn applications – somewhere upwards of 200 EUR a pop.  I applied first round to INSEAD, whereas at the time, other schools like IESE, LBS, etc., were already on their third round of applicants.  While some schools tell you that your chances are equal in all three rounds, I don’t actually believe that.  So, INSEAD it was.   

I might not be giving enough credit to how hard INSEAD is going to be.  You’ll have to ask me in two months.  Based on this assumption, I’ve opted out of attending the Business Foundations Course (1500 EUR).  Someone described it on the message boards as “an expensive way to start socializing early,” which sealed the deal for me.  I also consider myself pretty math-capable, though I’m told my Mac does not have the capability of doing regression calculations in Excel.  Yes, but it looks really cool.  

But, I’m rambling.

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