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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Going off air for a while 

I'm going to be spending a lot of the next week trying to get to grips with 75 years of archived filing at work, so am not likley to be at my PC that much. I'm stil struggling with Wahrton 3a, and I hope that a week away from writing might help me to get my ideas sorted out.

In case I don't get the chance to say so later, good luck to everyone starting at Wharton in August. I hope it's the beginning of an exciting and fulfilling two years.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

I was halfway through my dinner this evening when the phone rang. It was someone from Kaplan, who'd got my number from information provided at last week's Wharton event. I think they should update themselves on the provisions of the Data Protection Act.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Spring Cleaning 

My PC's been getting increasingly slow recently, so I've just given it a good spring clean - lots of old files deleted, unused programmes removed, and a defragement of the C drive. It seems to be feleing much better for it.
 
I think I'm starting to get somewhere with Wharton essay 3a. I'm starting from the end and writing about what I learnt from the failure and will then go back and fill in the description of the failure itself. I know it's a rather topsy-turvey way of doing things, but trying to describe the situation was just leaving me stalled. I think that this way, it'll be easier to write a concise and relevant description, and I'll know how many words I have left in which to do it.

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Slacking Off 

Or at least it feels that way, as far as applications are concerned. I'm still thinking over Wharton essay 3a. There's an example from a voluntary activity that might fit the bill, but I'm not sure. I supose the best thing is to try and write the essay and see how it works out.

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

Forte Foundation 

Female applicants in the US might be interested in the 2004 dates for the Forte Forum. I wonder why no one at the Wharton events pointed out the school's involvement with the Foundation to the questionner on Thursday.

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Friday, July 16, 2004

Wharton Event 

I spent last night in a hotel bed in a room that was rather too warm, so sleep was lacking in both quality and quantity. It's 9.30am and I'm already on my fourth cup of coffee - I think I'm going to be pretty much running on caffeine today.
 
Last night's information event was in Kaplan's centre in central London, just off Leicester Square. There were about 80 prospective applicants, some current students interning in London, a couple of just-graduated students, an alumnus from 2002 and someone joining the class of 2006. The room wasn't really big enough for all of us, so we were rather squashed and it wasn't that easy to see the presentation. Lack of amplification, coupled with a constant stream of latecomers, the two recent graduates talking constantly in the row behind me, and fans and a/c working hard to stop us all melting, meant it was quite a challenge to hear as well.
 
The formal presentation gave a  basic overview of Wharton and the application process and then all the various Whartonites introduced themselves and the floor was opened to questions. There was rather a preponderance of bankers - not surprising considering we were in London, but it certainly stimulated questions from the floor about the financial bias of the school and the mix of backgrounds of students. Other questions included fairly basic information on the course, possibilities for waiving core courses, how to make yourself stand out from the crowd in you application, and advantages of two year courses over one year ones. One fairly billigerant person wanted to know what was being done to encourage female applicants. I was somewhat suspicious of the claim of one of the curent students that Wharton had the highest percentage of female students of any business school, but even less convinved by the questioner's line of reasoning, which seemed to be that the fact that she knew female applicants who'd been turned down by whartton meant that there was some sort of discrimnation in action.
 
The presentation and questions were OK, but I'm not sure that I really learnt much new from them. I can see that for people in the early stages of the research process it would be useful though. I was planning to stay for the informal session afterwards, but the sight of  an even smaller room crammed with people disuaded me. I decided that talking to students when I visit would be more beneficial than trying to fight my way through the masses.
 
For anyone interested in similar Wharton events, look here.


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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Spoke to two of my recommenders yesterday, one is doing all three schools, the other just Stanford. Both want me to come up with some examples for them to use, which is easier for some questions than for others. Just like the essays really.

This evening I'm going to a Wharton information event in London, which should be fun.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Looking for something to do in August? 

Apparently 60% of the total tickets for the Olympics are still available and there are hotel rooms to be had in Athens.

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More useful resources 

My copy of the Stanford brochure has just arrived in the post, and as I type I am being assailed by the scent of ink fumes. Yum!

Thanks to Dave for pointing out the Kellogg Merger. And an overdue heads-up to check out the Stanford Social Innovation Review if your interests are in that diection (I mean Social Innovation, rather than Northern California). It's a great read and the most stylish not-for-profit publication I've come across.

And finally, thanks to Graham over at Clear Admit for deeming me worthy of a mention. We appreciate your efforts too!

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Contemplating Failure 

Describe when you were part of a team where the group process and/or intended outcome failed. What did you learn?

The above is Wharton essay 3a (you have to do two from a choice of three). I did my first draft of W2 last night (although, by the time I'd finsished it was probably drafts 1-5 combined). I could think of a whole raft of example for 'impact' but selecting a decent example for 'fauilure' is much more tricky. Of course, I could do the other two options (ethics and 'tell us something about yourself) both of which I have something written for. But I'm not sure that the ethics essay will add much to my overall application, and I'd like to beef-up the teamwork aspects. I'm going to continue to mull it over and see what I can come up with.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

A good use of time? 

I've just heard a report on the radio that the General Synod of the Church of England (ie the CofE's ruling body) is calling on the Royal Mail to only issue Christmas stamps with a Christian theme. Recent designs have features secular images, such as holly, and Synod feels that, as 70% of people described themeselves as Christian in the last census, they should be going for something more 'religious'.

Now, quite apart from the fact that it's difficult to buy non-Christmas stamps in November/December and I don't think that people of other faiths or non should have to have Christian imagery forced on them, and the fact that I think many of that 70% could best be described as 'culturally Christian' and sending Christmas cards is probably as close to religious observance as they get, is this really something worthy of debate? I look at everyhting that's going on in the world right now, and I ask why the ruling body of my church is debating pictures on stamps.

Rant over, normal service resuming soon.

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One more thing ticked off the list 

Over the weekend (at a moment when I wasn't floped in a blissfuly relaxed heap) I got around to sending my scores to schools. I didn't send then at the time I did the test, partly because I wasn't sure where I'd end up applying and also becuase I wasn't too sure how I'd do. But with the GMAT season for 2005 entry starting to get into full swing, I though that this was as good a time as any to get them sent. It's one less thing to be worrying about in three months time.

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Further Progress 

On Wednesday I'm meeting with my boss to discuss his recommendations of me for my applications. He's already agreed to do them, but we both want to talk through them in detail. It's a little early maybe, but he isn't office based, so the nex time I see him face to face won't be until mid-September. As he's away for two weeks directly after that, it would be rather tight to get reco's in if we left it til then, so Wednesday it is.

I've printed off copies of last year's forms, so he knows the sort of theing the schools are asking and can start to think about what to say. I'm also going to give him a copy of my Kellogg essay 1, as it stands at the moment, so he knows what I'm saying. In the course of reading through the essay before printing it out, I decided some of it needed re-writing. There was too much about what I did in my various jobs, not enough about what I learnt. Needless to say, these changes took me over two pages, so I had another editing round, and now feel I've got something that makes sense, makes a strong case, and meets the space limit.

Wharton essay 1 is also at a solid draft stage. Total word count is currently c1,400, which, given the guidelines on applications from 'non-traditionals', I hope is OK. W2 is at the 'cerebral development' stage. I know what I'm going to write about and roughly what I want to say, I'm just not quite sure how to say it yet.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

The luxury of relaxation 

I've had the uncommon pleasure of a completley free weekend. No place I had to be, nothing I had to do. Lots of sleeping, tv watching, and generally pootling about.

A couple of useful snippets from Business Week - an article on the drop in international applicants to US schools, and details on an admissions chat with Rosemaria Martinelli of Wharton.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

And now for something with a Monty Python reference 

Spam, spam, spam, spam. (repeat as lib)

How much more innocent most of us must have been before the spam purveyors chose to enlighten us about the properties of human growth hormone and what 'college girls' get up to outside class. I also wonder how many ways there are of spelling Viagra so that it can be recognised by a human reader but not by a spam filter. Maybe someone could turn that into a GMAT question.

As you might have guessed, I've been getting rather a lot of this rubbish recently.

On a more relevant note, I've gone back to Kellogg essay two, tweaked it a bit and am now happy to leave it sleeping until I know what the shorter essays for Kellogg are and I can come back and look at the application as a whole.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Useful Bits & Pieces 

In case any 'non-traditional' aplicants to Wharton haven't spotted it, I thought I'd share this info on essay length from the Wharton website:

Candidates who have worked in nontraditional careers (or for companies that may not be as familiar to the Admissions Committee) will need to explain issues in a little more detail. If that's your situation, please feel free to write more while still using your good judgment.

I now feel less worried about having to cut out too much relevant information in order to meet the word limit.

Stanford applicants might be interested in the on-line version of the GSB's newspaper. Not a lot going on there at the moment, unsurprisingly, but could be useful once term re-starts.

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Funny Old World 

I've done another chunck of work on K2 this evening. I decided that I'd just focus on my first theme, my international background, as this is something which really does make me unique. The second theme had been community involvement and team work. Although its important that I get those across somewhere in the ap, they aren't really as defining of me. so, I went back to the international section, expanded it, put in some more examples, and, loh and behold, the team work and community involvement stuff starts coming through naturally in the examples.

I'm going to come back to this essay in a couple of days and edit it, and then I think that will be it for Kellogg until the 'smaller' essay titles are confirmed next month. I don't really feel like carefully crafting paragraphs until I'm sure they are going to be of some use. So, now its time to do more reading on Wharton before the London info session next week.

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Happy Independence Day (Observed) 

to all those who are celebrating the overthrow of the British. These days all you'd have to do is label any encounter a 'quarter-final' and we would recognise the situation and lose, at least if our recent sporting performances are anything to go by. While the Brits (and specifically the English) have not been basking in glory sportswise recently, it has been good to see 'underdogs' triumphing over the weekend. I suspect there are a lot of heavy hangovers in Greece this morning.

I am still struggling with Kellogg essay 2. At the moment I can't decide whether to focus on one area of uniqueness or to include two. I'm finding one of the two very easy to articulate, but the second less so. It's tempting just to go with the first, but I think that the second is possibly a more important aspect to get across, and they do fit together rather well. It would be easier if I knew what the 'smaller' questions were going to be, so I could divide up information amongst the entire application. Hey hum.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

K2 

The essay that is, not the mountain. That said, it is feeling like an uphill struggle at the moment.

Each of our applicants is unique. Describe how your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills will enhance the experiences of other Kellogg students.

I'm finding it much harder to approach these more open ended questions than the ones that are very focussed (Tell us about an ethical dilemma . . . etc.). Finding a 'way in' isn't easy, and there's a lot more latitude about what to include. Whilst this obviously makes for more freedom and a greater ability to paint a picture of oneself, it also means hard decisions about what to leave out, and a lot of thought about the relative value and importance of all the things I could include. But no one said this process was going to be easy, right.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Are we really half way through the year already? 

Where is the time going?

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