So I am done with my first draft of respectable essays (or so I think) for review. I must say that INSEAD essays are more of a trouble for the reviewers as there are so many of them. I have warned my reviewers in advance about the quantity of text they are going to receive and guess what I am using the optional essay as well. Since I am waiting for the review, I am going over and over through the essays to see if I could make more changes. No patience to wait for the comments 🙂
I am also thinking about engaging a professional admission consultant but I will decide on that once I am done with the first round of peer review. I just somehow think that I may not use one because I did hell lot of brainstorming to come up (by come up I mean I have dug through my life to conclude whats worth telling and whats not) with stuff I want to put, stories I want to tell and I don’t know how will the admission consultant help me other than checking the flow, english etc. Any opinions on this one?
What I am glad about is that I still have not got paranoid about the essays and am doing it slowly and consistently. I have time for myself and can’t wait for the 20 km hike we girls have planned.
As we all know that essay writing is a very introspective process and man it is opening few windows in that small brain of mine. I have been learning a lot about me – my motivations, my future plans including the plan B and plan C, my capacity to compress my thoughts in 400 words and yes my writing style too. I think even if one is not applying to b school, he/she must go through this process to look inside and as the yogis say, once you know yourself completely, you can call things towards you and they will come to you. In this post I will share my intermediate learnings from this process. I hope they make sense for everybody:
- Be aware of yourself. I mean in all respects. Be aware of your surroundings, your ambitions, personal and professional motivations, your body. In general just don’t hang in the limbo. “Knowing what you don’t know” is a way better situation to be in than “not knowing what you don’t know”. (This is my husband’s tagline and since I am the better half, I have all rights to steal it :))
- Let people question you especially those who mean good. Because when they question you, you will be forced to think an answer. This is a great help for essays but I guess it helps in life too.
- Be honest with yourself. True that. Being honest with yourself is more important that being honest with others. (This one was a great help in identifying the target schools and writing the career goal essay).
Apart from these general things, I have come to know that I use “and” a lot and that I need to learn how to add firecrackers to my writing 🙂
I learned the most important lesson of my life from my first boss during first few months of my first job and that was art of networking and the places it could take you. Before I got acquainted with the benefits and practical usability (other than getting varied companions for drinks on weekdays) of networking in professional arena, I used to think the only way to go up is just do your job well. But I was mistaken…you need to do your job well but you also need to be at the right place at the right time and fellas that’s not luck…that’s networking. And I am so glad I learned this lesson so early on in my professional life. The same point was reiterated during the panel discussion with career services personal and few women alumni of INSEAD. I must say that INSEAD did a good job at attracting few good women candidates to the school through this small session. The few takeaways from this session are:
- Networking is important – and its equally important for women and men.
- Since normally women are in lesser percentages than men in the corporate world, it tends to get intimidating for them to reach out and network. However, once you break the ice and yes you woman will have to make the effort and take the first step, it gets pretty easy.
- There are lots of studies that show that women are paid lesser than men (yes..for similar jobs too) and an interesting perspective that came out was that women don’t ask for more money. They either accept whatever offer or if they really don’t like it, they simply reject it. NEGOTIATE woman!!! NEGOTIATE!!! If you are good, you deserve that money and if you are not, well, asking for more money doesn’t hurt 🙂
- Look out for mentors and look out for mentors who are pretty senior in age and status. You will not only benefit from their wisdom but also not threaten their status.
- Networking is important not just to get the job but also to understand more about that industry or that organization or simple that role you have been eyeing for. In that sense networking takes a broader role than getting that job.
And some subtle takeaways/observations for me from this event are:
- As I said earlier, INSEAD did a good job in attracting some good women to their program.
- The gathering was truly representative of what INSEAD stands for – Diversity. There were women from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. I liked that.
- The gathering at event also was a good representative of the expat community in Singapore – prettty interesting ,I must say!
- The session reinforced my interest in INSEAD.
So all you women out there…go out and get that job you wanted and ask for lot of money for it. Meanwhile, I should get back to my essays.