Sunday, June 17, 2007

off to pastures new

No blogging for a few days because I had a few decisions to take and they were more urgent than any MBA issue. My contracting assignment will be over in two weeks and I've decided not to renew.
Money was very good but the job really boring and not challenging, so I've decided to go back to Europe (or somewhere else...) where (hopefully) I'll be able to get a job I'm happy with. I know that a management position is not absolutely necessary to get admitted to business school but it's something I feel ready to take on regardless of any MBA consideration. Fingers crossed.
I have had the chance to think about the MBA thing as well and I have to say that I haven't changed my mind. It's difficult to explain my whole story and all my plans here but I still think that's the right choice. Next month I might have changed my mind but we'll see :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

frustration part II

well I'm glad that at least my frustration inspired Linda Abraham to write a post on the blog :)
Thanks Linda, it is always nice to have a different perspective (and in this case certainly a good one!) and to be brought back to the "fundamentals". Sometimes you're too busy thinking about the how (to get admitted to an MBA program in this case) that you forget about the why (you're doing it)...
I would like to get a solid preparation in general management to land a job there eventually. As to my short term goals, I'm really excited about (ideally international) rotational programs and I think that will be my first choice.
I do hate my current job (meaning I hate my current position) but I believe that didn't really affect my decision to apply, considering that I'm contracting and I'll be working there only for 3 more weeks.
So my choice is basically about what to do next. I could get a more "technical" (as in specialised) job or I could try to get into a management position in the same field, which I would prefer.
To complicate everything, there is a decision on whether to go back to Europe (where I could get a better job in a management role) or to stay where I live now (and I'd be happy to stay now that I'm settled in).
I also have to decide whether to squeeze in a professional qualification (CPA or ACCA) in the next year (considering that I'm supposed to work on my applications as well). This would be much helpful for my current job (even only starting), I'm not too sure how that fits in my long term goals but I suppose it can't do any harm.
So at the moment I'm waiting on an offer from the company I'm contracting for ("they're working on it"), plus I'm jobhunting in my current location, plus I have telephone interviews scheduled with recruitment agencies in Luxembourg and London.
To top it all, since I'm a masochist, the other day I have also applied for a completely different job that I'd be interested in (credit analyst for a rating agency) and I'm wondering what's going to happen if they really call me for an interview.
I am thinking that if I put off the MBA, I could confortably study for my CPA and probably build up my profile more in a management role. On the other hand I'm really excited about the whole MBA thing and I don't really want to wait one more year.
That's my story....

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I'm really torn. Never in my life I've felt so unfocused and undecided. On one hand this is good because it means that I have a few options to choose among but on the other hand it's quite frustrating not knowing where I'll be next month and what I'll be doing...
I'm trying to decide keeping into account my plan of applying for the class starting in fall 2008 but sometimes I think that my choice now would be easier if I decided to delay the MBA of one year. But I really don't want to put it off...
By the way, since my last post, there's no progress at all on my applications...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ten good reasons to do an MBA

- to learn a lot of stuff
- to (hopefully) receive THAT phone call and jump as high as you can
- to switch career without starting over
- to be off work for two years
- to see those three letters after your name (until the day you die)
- to discover a world of opportunities and see a lot of doors opening
- to do an experience of life in the US
- to be surrounded by bright and inspiring people for two years (and possibly for a lifetime)
- to be involved in clubs and attend conferences, seminars and events
- to feel alive

Monday, June 4, 2007

a bad day

Guys I officially hate my job. My only relief is that I know that next month I won't be working there anymore. I'm really undecided between moving to a different department as they seem to have offered or moving somewhere else... well we'll see...

Last night I wanted to give the essays a go and decided to start from Harvard so I drafted essay number 1. Today I read the transcription of the chat with the Harvard director of admissions and found out that this year they'll be completely changing the essays...

ah jesus.... I better go to bed

Sunday, June 3, 2007

blog and essays

hmmm this blog looks like the first draft of stanford essay number 1. It doesn't sound like me at all, and actually it's just plain boring... Hopefully I'll be able to improve...
In my mind keeping this blog should have helped me to keep my motivation and work on the applications, to be honest I'm not that sure it's working.

[rant mode on]
And could anybody tell me why business schools can't release essays in May/June rather than August/September? Argh...!
[rant mode off]

alright... I feel like ice cream now, I'm sure by October I'll have gained some 5 kgs.... (ranting again? yeah...)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

the drainstorming

well this brainstorming is killing me

As suggested by the books I've read (and as slightly adjusted by me), I'm putting down on paper everything that happened in my life over the last 10 years.
I've built a table with six columns detailing:
1) the episodes, the achievements, the activities and the major changes in my life, along with a short description of each
2) the year (or period of time) in which they happened
3) the "area" they pertain to (A for academic, P for professional, E for extracurriculars, I also added I for international since that's a strong area for me, for someone else it could be C for community for instance)
4) the "internal" impact, i.e. the lessons learned or the skills acquired
5) the "external" impact, i.e. the influence or the effects on other people
6) the main skills that the episode/achievement/activity shows, on which you can build the "themes" of your application

Brief example:

1) Managed project X (+ short description of the project)
2) 2005
3) P
4) Delivering within tight deadlines, liasing with different departments, leveraging on my network, etc.
5) made my boss happy (+quote "we could have never done this without you"), pi**ed off the manager of the other department, motivated my team, etc.
6) Leadership, focus on innovation

I hope it makes sense...

Seeing all your life on a couple of pages kinda makes you feel miserable, and struggling to find more episodes/achievements makes you feel even more miserable... but I guess it has to be done...

Friday, June 1, 2007


This is one of those lazy days... starting early gives you a big obvious advantage but at the same time you tend to think "well it's early I don't really need to work that hard" so eventually you barely accomplish anything...
At the moment I'm looking for blogs of other people who look to start their MBA in fall 2008 but I can't find any, I bet I'm not the only one!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

my gmat adventure

as I said I got the GMAT out of the way a while ago, and I'd recommend to do the same so that you can just focus on the essays (and everything else).

This is from something I wrote the day I completed the GMAT:

"I'm soooooo happy! Finished an hour ago and scored a fantastic XXX, more than I was hoping for.

I took the GMAT last year for the first time and scored a disappointing XXX. Decided to put it off for a while and then a couple of months ago I booked a new appointment for last week.

Did the test last Friday but during my first break the Pearson Vue server crashed so they couldnt sign me back in the exam room. They kept on saying "don't worry, it'll be ok in a couple of minutes, you wont be penalised, the test wont start" etc etc.
Eventually they let me continue the exam after 35 (!!) minutes. Needless to say, the timer started from 50 mins instead of 75. The guy tried to add those minutes back in with some code but that didnt work. He told me to do the test anyway and assured once again i wouldnt be penalised and the score would reflect the time they made me waste.
I somehow managed to score XXX (which I was kinda happy about) but I just felt that it wasnt fair, I had to do the Q section in 50 mins and that wasnt my fault at all. I left the testing centre and they told me that Pearson would call me on Monday so that we could arrange something. Once again they told me I wouldnt be penalised in any way.

On Monday this chap calls me and basically tells me that my options are 1) keeping XXX, 2) do the full exam again (which was the last thing I wanted to do). I was soo pissed off lads, you can't imagine. Plus, my laptop broke down the day before and I couldn't even practise on CATs. I eventually decided to fix another appointment for today.

So today I went to the testing centre, thank god the guy who was there last week (the one repeating "you won't be penalised") wasn't there, otherwise I would have killed him. Twisted Evil

This time everything went fine. Kinda felt as though the quantitative section wasnt going too well, but reassured myself thinking that if I found the questions difficult it had to mean that I was doing well. Probably did few mistakes and guessed on one or two.

The verbal section flew by and I finished with more than 10 mins left. I presume I did a few mistakes but in most of the questions it just felt as though the right answer was there flashing at me and calling me. I think the verbal is not as difficult as many people think (I'm not even a native speaker), it is just about understanding how the GMAT writers think and stay focussed (which is not easy after 3 hours....). I would strongly recommend to read carefully the RC passages and not just to skim, at least if you wanna get a high score.

When I saw XXX on the screen I wanted to scream but I couldn't of course Very Happy

My preparation
Studied on the Princeton Review last year.
Used that again this year but I find some of their techniques absolutely useless, even though some of the tips they give are actually good.
I also did all the questions on the GMAT prep software.
To be honest I just started a couple of weeks before the first exam, although I booked the appointment a couple of months ago. Lazy bastard I am.
After the useless exam last week I decided to buy the OG11 and I did the 50 most difficult questions on each section this week as I couldnt practice on the GMATprep. "

well that's my story... obviously you can try to guess what the XXXs stand for... :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where I stand...

so I'm going to apply over the next few months to start in autumn (oops fall) 2008... but where do I stand in the application process?
I'm really glad I got the GMAT out of the way nearly 6 months ago so at this stage that's not a concern at all.
I'm trying to make up my mind about which (and how many) schools I'm going to apply to. My daily mood swings make sure those percentages stated just beside the name of the schools change pretty regularly.
I'd like to apply to 5 schools (all in R1 if I can manage) but sometimes I'm tempted to broaden my list to 7 schools... not sure how it'll end up.
I'm brainstorming for my essays and have just finished reading "How to get into the Top MBA Programs" by R. Montauk and "Great Application Essays for Business School" by P. Bodine. I found both really helpful. I also found really helpful the Clear Admit guides, although they're quite expensive.
I haven't contacted my recommenders yet and I'm seriously dreading that moment. In my field it's not so common to take an MBA so I'm expecting mixed reactions. Furthermore I'll have to coach them (i.e. annoy them) about how to write the letters since I'm pretty sure the recommenders I'm thinking about won't have ever written a reco for an MBA applicant. Anyway one of my recommenders is going to be a previous manager and I'm confident he won't be too bothered by my request but I'm not settled on the second... well we'll see.
Not sure why, but I'm trying to remain anonymous at least for now (it'll probably last only a few days...). I think the adcoms will have something better to do than reading my blog and trying to match it with my application but just in case...
Anyway I'm afraid not many dudes from Venice will be applying so I'd say I'm already pretty screwed. Oh well, at least I already have something to blame in case I get dinged.

The beginning of my journey

I'm not even sure why I'm starting this blog… well I suppose it's just a way to motivate myself during the application process and to feel part of the virtual community of MBA applicants. We're all sharing the same pain (and we'll be sharing a much bigger pain in a few months) but this blog will be mainly about my pain.
So get on my gondola and bear with me… I just hope there will be a happy ending! :-)