Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doing the math

So what's INSEAD going to cost me?

50,000 Euros tuition, 20,000 Euros Living Expenses, 5,000 Miscellaneous buffer expenses. Thanks to the spiking Euro (I wonder if someone's tweaking this stuff solely to get more money from Microsoft -

Now that translates to 75,000 Euros which is roughly 111487.5 USD. That's quite steep and with significant amount of money locked into the US Stock market, I'm quite stressed out on how to plan for this much money.

Thinking of loans, scholarships and possibly someone to sponsor my MBA. Need to get creative here before I can officially accept the INSEAD offer.

No news from Stanford yet - It would be really awesome if they acted on this fast, so that I could put down a deposit. Grrrr.....

Monday, February 25, 2008


I got an admit to the July 2009 INSEAD class starting at Fonty. I got notified via email unlike the 'typical' phone call. I didn't particularly enjoy INSEAD's phased admission notification process as the anxiety wore me and my wife out. I have to say, I nagged the living hell out of her.

So, I feel great. But daunted about having to make a payment/decision by March 21st. I have an ISB admit and am waiting for news from Stanford. I need to think through the pros & cons of ISB & INSEAD. That & funding options (I'm researching this topic pretty heavily) would be the topic of my next post.

Friday, February 22, 2008

No news is bad news?

The forum's are abuzz with admits and Waiting List notifications. Still nothing from my side. I don't understand why universities stage their notification process. Why not just send out all results on 2/29? I could think of a few reasons

1. Outstanding candidate who needs to be reached first before any other school.
2. Personalization - the ability to call up all students and personally notify them of their admit
3. Adhoc - we have the result, why not do it.

In any case, I'm still optimistic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The wait conundrum

Although INSEAD announces it's outcome only on Feb 29th, I'm already quite confident of securing an admit. I strongly desire the Singapore campus and I believe there's lesser demand for that, so I might be all set in a week. So the next thing that I need to research is finance. I've got a couple of constraints

1. I got an admit with the ISB (Indian School of Business) and put down 5,000 big ones. I feel stupid about having applied to ISB R1. But then, it took a while for me to realize that I wanted to apply to my other 2 schools viz. INSEAD and Stanford. I am wondering whether I could recoup my 5 G's in any way. Will send an email to ISB adcom once I get my INSEAD admit.
2. I am yet to hear from Stanford. Interviews have started going out, but I haven't heard anything yet.
3. Finally, regardless of which school I pick, I will need to grab a loan. I have some savings that are locked up in stocks thanks to the dramatic downturn of the US Stock market. Serves me right for my blind faith in the US economy. ISB loan's are pretty easy - in fact people are desperate to hand me money. On the other hand, INSEAD funding seems a mess. I need to research some options. That will be the topic of my next post.

I really like what Stanford's doing about their tuition: Read Here. The middle class really needs a break. It feels like we're being pushed repeatedly out of affordability.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Waiting on INSEAD. Several candidates are reporting admit's on the business week forum. So it sounds like the process has started rolling along. Excellent.

On to 2/29 now.

Interview #2

I had my second interview with the CFO of a Venture Cap firm in Seattle. The interview was a little bit more formal, but essentially boiled down to the same questions

1. Walk me through your resume
2. Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?
3. What do you think is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
4. When did you first learn about INSEAD?
5. What do you do outside of work?

I got a lot of great tips from the alum on career options after INSEAD, the life on campus and the benefits of the INSEAD alum. I was impressed with how thoroughly he had read my resume and my essays - He had taken down detailed notes. He said he would positively recommend me.

Now on to Feb 29th for the actual results.

Friday, February 8, 2008

INSEAD Interview #1

Just got done with my first interview. It lined up very much with what others had to say about their experiences. The interview was casual and conversation-like. Here were the questions asked:

1. Tell me about yourself. Walk me through your resume.
2. Give me a few examples that demonstrate your strengths & weaknesses.
3. Why INSEAD? Why not American schools (I'm in the US)? Why not Indian Schools (I had mentioned that I want to pursue an entrepreneurial career)?
4. Why MBA? I was surprised this came after #3, but perhaps I botched #3.
5. What do you want to do right after your MBA?
6. Which campus - Singapore or Fonte? And why? I said both :-)
7. Any questions?

The interviewer indicated that he would positively recommend me. Throughout the interview, I was focussed on the storyline of my essay's and did not back away from it. My second interview is scheduled for today.

INSEAD Essay's

I believe that the overall purpose of the Essay is to provide a qualitative view to your resume. You were the president of your student's association (resume), great, but what did you do to become president, what did you do after you became president (essay's). I feel the essays are a great opportunity to give 'stories' & 'anecdotes' supporting your overall theme & resume.

I was watching this program on TV called, "On the Lot". It's a reality show where amateur directors create small movies based on theme's. One of the director's mentioned that this success stemmed from his ability to lay down real simple story lines and then weave complex 'episodes' around them. I think an MBA app is very similar. Here are some example 'elevator pitches' for storylines (very relevant to an Entrepreneurial track)

"Highly accomplished individual seeking to build an enterprise on his own"
"Global exposure at an early age, seeking professional freedom"

Now, the next step is to take this mantra and write down all 'stages' of your life and see how they align. Here's what I did

Childhood (birth -> Grade X)
Grade X - Grade XII
Grad School
Professional experience
ExtraCurrics across the board.

Now, write down accomplishments in each of the above stages. It can be very rough

1. Played Soccer for school team
2. Was member of TIE

Once you've got a huge laundry list, walk down through each item and decide which one's support your theme and which one's don't. This remaining list can serve as the foundation for all your remaining essays.

I found this approach very useful. Perhaps it helps others.

Current Status

I've applied in R2 for INSEAD September 2008 intake. I got preselected for the interview and got scheduled with 2 Alumni in the Seattle area. I'm done with 1 interview, waiting for another to get completed.

My Profile

Before I start posting about essay, interview tips and such, I thought I'd provide some specifics about my profile to put this entire blog in better perspective

Male, 29 (and aging :-), Indian
5 years work experience with 2 years in graduate school (Master's in Computer Science)
Software Development with a big-ass software company in Seattle, WA
GMAT 720, 6.0 AWA
Good academics & good extra-curricular activities.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

September Versus January intake

The main difference between September and January intake is the lack of internship-time in the former. Based on the profiles posted on several forums, the September intake represents a student population with much higher work experience.

For me, the September batch is a great fit as I have about 5 years experience and want a quick intense crash course in business skills. However, I do realize that I'm closing my doors on potential career changes.


I'm in the process of applying to the INSEAD September 2008 intake and want to use this blog as a way to payback the blogosphere for all the rich advice I had gotten. Overall, I found the amount of information about INSEAD and it's application process to be fairly light from a student perspective.

I hope someone finds my learnings useful.