Clearadmit school guide snapshot review – INSEAD

I was pretty delighted when I got nominated for the BoB award. Had not expected the nomination at all and hence was even more delighted when clearadmit asked me to review their INSEAD school snapshot. However, they asked me to review the snapshot, I will be unbiased in my review and try to present the true picture from my eyes.

Whenever I go through such a document, my first reaction is “what is in it for me (WIFME)”. So lets straight away get to that:


    • It’s a very (when I say very, I mean it) crisp information on INSEAD. Its all you need to know about the school at first glance. The snapshot will probably save some hours you will spend (or I have spent) going through the website. Having said that, I will also say that the snapshot will not help any of us make a decision about the school. Its very basic information which you can easily find on the website. I would have used snapshots of various schools during the very first stages of school screening. Stages, where you want to explore the specialty of the school, number of faculty, about the campus etc.
    • The snapshot is pretty organized. The information flows in a very structured manner and its to the point. I actually like such no-nonsense information.
    • As clearadmit says that the snapshot is just a piece of the puzzle so I am kind of curious to see what’s there in the main booklet. (I am hoping they will not leave me in limbo and give me the full booklet also to review:))

To be honest, the value addition component was rather less in the document and I hoped for more. But I think that clearadmit is using the snapshot for just that. To create more interest and advertise for their school guides. By the way, the best things in the world may be free but we still have to pay for the better things.

P.S. Am not dead yet and the MBA dream is still alive.  Work is starting to take up and so is the social scene. I am meeting some really cool people who do cool stuff. Totally loving it. I will keep you guys posted.


MBA deferred…

So I have been writing these essays since more than 2 months and took reviews from people and re-worked the essays. They were getting in shape. I saw considerable improvement from the first draft to the now draft. BUT, there has been some change in circumstances and I have deferred my decision to apply. For now, it looks like that maybe for another 6 months and I may apply to July batch of INSEAD and few other European schools.

Meanwhile, I am going to focus on my career and the NGO work I have been doing. Of course, I am going to travel too 🙂

But it does not mean I am off the blogging scene. I will keep you guys updated on my progress

Out there

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.

Be Aware!!!

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 🙂

Revelations galore!!!



Value of Networking for Women discussion at INSEAD

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.

Apping is on!!!

GMAT – check

Research on schools – check

List of schools decided – check

So I am done with all the preliminary steps and am so ready for applying now. I can already picture myself taking classes and socializing in my dream school. For now, I have decided to apply to INSEAD Jan’13 intake and in case I don’t make it, I will apply to other schools from my list.

I have started writing essays for INSEAD, which are many. Nine in total because I intend to use the optional essay as well and let me tell you its not like writing a post on this blog. I can write 9 blog posts in a day and in last month or so, I have been able to write just 3 essays, which are also not very respectable. But at the same time, its interesting to think about the right stories that reflect you not in best way but in the right way. The adcom should be able to see me as the person I am through my essays. They should be able to relate to me through those 400 words highly compressed stories.

I am highly motivated and yes..lets do it!!!

The laundry list..

Now that GMAT is over and I have decided to apply for schools. I am not taking chance with R2 so I will apply to schools in next cycle. Before that lets talk about my target schools. I have been in Banking industry for around 5 years and have developed a special interest in finance. So I am focused on finance specific schools. Apart from that I have another point to think about. Should I go for 1 year MBA or 2 years MBA. Lets discuss that in detail.

1 year MBA:


  • Lesser opportunity cost
  • Lesser costs – specially cost of living
  • I will not have to go far (I am in Asia) to pursue 2 year courses
  • Less time away from my husband


  • Scope of internship is lesser
  • Very intensive course

2 year MBA:


  • Internship opportunities are good
  • More time to network and hence more chances of landing the desired job
  • 2 good years of college life 🙂


  • Again the opportunity cost is higher
  • Cost of living is also high
  • Will be spending 2 years for something that can be done in1 year as well.

Of all the pros and cons, the one that is most bothering me is internship. As I am planning for a change in function, it is very important to get a hands on experience in the field before really jumping into it. So while I ponder more into this decision, here is the list of schools I am thinking of right now:

  1. INSEAD – this is a sure choice as it is in Singapore. Why Singapore is good because I am here and Asia is in a much better shape than US or Europe. Will be applying to INSEAD for Jan 2013 intake. Also the schools ticks almost all the items in my checklist such as international diversity, strong alumni etc.
  2. LBS – LBS is another strong choice because of its focus on finance, because its a 15/21 month course and the chances of internship are good and because its in London – the heart of finance.
  3. Said Business School, Oxford – However, the school is not known for finance but has got amazing brand equity  and the educational experience is enriching.

There are few other schools I have been thinking about but have not done proper research on them. Will update once I do that and will post more on reasons for me choosing INSEAD, LBS and Oxford.

Other schools in mind:

  1. NYU Stern
  2. Wharton
  3. Chicago Booth
  4. Cornell one year course
  5. Tepper
  6. Darden
  7. UNC

Now I am off to doing research. Till then..happy apping guys!!