Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beginning A New Journey

It's been an amazing first week of Chicago GSB's LEAD program. A new confidence has sprung with new hopes, new friendships, and anticipation for the 2 years ahead.

I wrapped up the summer with encouraging, yet sad good-byes from my work colleagues and a month of relaxing travels across the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately, I've decided to end my journal with this final post to fully focus on the work ahead. Thanks again to all my supportive readers during the past year. Couldn't have done it without you! :-)

Best wishes to all those starting at MBA programs this fall. Good luck to those applying for the Class of 2009 and beyond!!

All the Best,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


It's been great seeing the Class of 2009 bloggers beginning to post! I've also received a handful of e-mails and thought I'd share some Q&A's. (Note: My answers may be biased towards my own experiences.)

Q: I have just started my GMAT prep and am confused about how to proceed.

To begin tackling the GMAT:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the test format. Two essays, the verbal and math sections - how much time each, how many questions each, what types of questions are given, etc.
  2. Then take a practice test. Take a free test.
  3. See how you score. Where are your trouble areas? Now you know where to focus most of your study time.
  4. The best book to use is the Official Guide. It contains real questions from past GMAT exams. Any question that you miss, take your time to really understand the correct answers. There are common "types" of questions that will appear repetitively on the test.
  5. Register for the test: and use the test date to motivate you to study.
Q: I am going through a strange phase of the GMAT prep, kind of loosing steam. How can I overcome this?

We get restless because: 1) you just want the test to be over with, 2) you are becoming more scared and excited of the actual outcome, and 3) you can't wait to be knee-deep in the actual applications. :-)

Everyone has different study methods that work for her, but a couple things that may help are:
  1. Pace yourself. Don't try to cram so much studying in one sitting! This becomes overwhelming. Some people frantically do practice tests one after another. I gave myself 3 months of study time and tackled one practice test per week. The rest of the week I would do practice problems, slowing down to carefully pick through my trouble areas.
  2. Set goals. To get through the entire Official Guide book aim to finish 30 problems every day or whatever number you choose. For the problems you miss, make sure you understand WHY the solutions are correct.
  3. Do you get nervous taking tests? If you're anything like me, I may sing beautifully during a rehearsal, but my voice croaks and my knees shake during the actual performance. Often they tell performers to pretend the audience is naked so the funny image helps them relax. If you're nervous on tests, tell yourself, "There's nothing to worry about. I can do this! I will ace this test!" Repeat this to yourself aloud. If you freak out over each wrong answer, you'll just worry and stress out more until you can't focus (and then careless mistakes are made). Find a way that helps you relax before each practice test. I think more clearly when I'm calmer.
  4. Breathe. If you're mind is racing and your palms start to sweat - take one deep breath in and let it out slowly. Take a couple more if you need to. Those 10 seconds you spend calming yourself down is nothing compared to the 75 minutes you have to do all the problems.
  5. If you still can't focus when you're studying. Put it down. Take a break. Go out and watch a movie, and then come back later with a clear mind ready to study.
Q: Does it makes sense for me to look into schools now and start their essays or should I think about it after my GMAT score is out?

Yes, start researching schools now. On GMAT test day, you can select 5 schools to send your score reports to for free. Take advantage of this by walking into the test knowing which schools you're *hoping* to apply to.

For now, put most of your time into studying for the GMAT. I aimed to take the test once and score above 700. (Fortunately, this happened.) In the meantime, do keep an eye out for when schools post: 1) 2006-2007 deadlines and 2) next year's application. (Some essays questions may change year to year.) Also, start brainstorming on the common essay questions:

  1. Why an MBA? Why now?
  2. Long-term & short-term career goals?
  3. Why school X? -- For each school you apply to.
  4. Leadership experience and something you learned from it.
  5. Teamwork experience and something you learned from it.
Remember: Time is limited. From now until your application due dates you should map out a timeline for your: 1) GMAT study, 2) essays, 3) recommendations, and 4) filling out the applications.

I leave you with some GMAT links:

GMAT Forums
GMAT Prep Help

Friday, June 09, 2006

Talk About Lazy Days...

I have sailed off in the same boat as Marina and MBA Jackass, riding the waves of summer laziness. And, this may be my final summer under the Californian sun...

With the move ahead who knows where I may end up in the future? Return to the Bay Area? Stay in Chicago? East Coast? Asia? Europe? Australia? My 1st-year internship, my new career, my future family... I'm open to the possibilities.

In the meantime, my summer laziness has brought many summer surprises:


  • Jun. 11: Girls For A Change Closing Ceremony @ San Jose Tech Museum (I will miss my Mission San Jose High School team! *sniff*)
  • Jun. 13: Friend visiting from New York.
  • Jun. 16: 2006 GMAC® Conference Event with Marina
  • Jun. 17: Friend visiting from Boston.
  • Jun. 21: Chicago GSB Class of 2008 Bay Area Event #2!
  • Jun. 22: Girls For A Change Coach Thank-You Party
  • Taking a Community College Accounting class to prep for b-school.
  • Seeing every possible doctor before I lose my medical insurance. (An allergy test shows I'm allergic to cockroaches!! Funny!)
  • Filing for financial aid. $140K debt, here I come!
  • Mid-July: Shanghai
  • Early August: Tokyo
  • Mid-August: Taipei
  • Jun. 23: Next Stanford GSB update (Jun. 1st update: Still waitlisted)
  • Jul. 14: Final MIT Sloan update
  • Sept. 5: Chicago GSB LEAD begins

Monday, May 15, 2006

Stanford Update Today

And I'm still on the waitlist.

It seems there are approximately 75 of us left hoping our lucky stars will appear... soon...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Talking in Rhymes

I have a friend who enjoys talking in rhymes. After my Haas interview, I sent him this fun note. (Yes - I am going full-time!)

"The interview was interesting,
Same yet different from the others.
Some things were missing,
And some things were covered.

"She asked the usual career questions,
But then I learned a few new lessons.
That part-time has a different quality,
I may have went in with the wrong mentality.

"'Why part-time over full-time?' she made me ponder,
I spewed out [my answer] about a corporate sponser.
But one thing I kept seeing branded in her eyes,
The words 'You're so young' had me hypnotized.

"The more I discovered the more I found,
That full-time programs I am definitely bound.
Every question I asked her she batted with a fist,
'Time is your limitation!' she repeated with no twist.

"A'las I stood up and shook her hand,
'Good day' and a nod I walked out of Haas land.
Without turning back I increased the gap,
With a quiet word, I will withdraw the app."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Maroon Phoenix and White Gargoyles

GSB Logo
University of Chicago - GSB.
Why do I love thee?

In my search for gold,
I came across your cold.

In a place to study Econ, Fin, and Strategy.
I found your school the best fit for me!

Ha! Ok, we have concluded I am no poet. My little cousin could probably "pikachu" out a better rhyme than I. :-)

So why Chicago?

IWMI's response a 'la drunk:
Study Room
  1. Fit. After falling into a deep midday slumber on the soft, plush study room chairs, HPC has become my new home. *IWMI snores happily away* (Hey, after taking a red-eye flight into Chicago, those couches would look inviting to you too!)

  2. Academics. A fellow admit's first impression: "IWMI, you're a nerd!" Got my first LEAD homework assignment already, and I'm ready to rock. (Homework: I love you. *snuggles*)

  3. People. They're already my homies. We have two GSB gatherings in the bay area next week. Already feeling the warm and fuzzies...

  4. Career. (Croons to recruiters) "Me and you, baby. We create synergy and harmony..."

  5. Student Groups. I mean, come on now. Who would give up the possible opportunity of performing with Rose Martinelli at the year-end Follies?!

  6. Alumni. I've been adopted by an alumna! I'm a lucky girl!

  7. Rankings. Top ten, yo.
*Hiccup!* My toast to finally turning 24 this May!


IWMI's response a 'la sober:
  1. Fit. The GSB has an academically (and quantitatively) challenging environment which I am seeking. As MBA Spanky and Julius Seizure described, Anderson provides a more laid-back community. Nick Carraway's recount of visiting Johnson shows a similar environment. At the UCLA Info Session, I was amazed how the adcom kept emphasizing this laid-back attitude. One alumna on the Q&A panel commented, "I had enough free time to pick up a 20-hour internship on the side!" If I had a family at this point in my life, I would find Anderson to be the best fit for me to balance school and family life. However, being 24, full of energy, and not having these responsibilities yet, I am ready to immerse myself in the fast-paced environment of the GSB.

  2. Academics. Unbeknownst to many, GSB has a strong Data-Driven Marketing program. Sitting in Professor Pradeep Chintagunta's Marketing model class at A-Week, I was fascinated by the theory and supporting data presented on customer segmentation for the technology sector. Many students have also raved about Professor Peter Rossi's Marketing Strategy course, which I am looking forward to taking. Interested in experiential learning? Check out the GSB's latest and greatest Laboratory in New Product and Strategy. And yes, Anderson and Johnson offer experiencial learning that is built into their curriculums.

  3. People. The GSB adcom have been extremely helpful with my entire MBA process. The students are very approachable, and I was happy to finally meet my student mentor during Admit Weekend. Both Johnson and Anderson had assigned me great student mentors, but I really appreciated that the GSB allowed me to select my own mentor from their student database. I found a woman who closely fit my own background and interests - someone I thought who could offer me the best guidance for my intended school/career path. Amazingly, we're both from the Bay Area, Math lovers, interested in Marketing, enjoy taking active roles on campus, and love to dance.

  4. Career. At the GSB, this is one area I will need to put more effort into. My student mentor had stated, "Look on the bright side. As more GSB students are headed towards banking and consulting, we'll have less competition for Marketing opportunities." On the flip side, because fewer students look for Marketing positions, fewer Marketing opportunities are brought on campus. This means, I will definitely be taking advantage of West Quest and will need to put more time into building external relationships for potential high-tech marketing opportunities. Anderson would have been the better choice for me in this respect.

  5. Student Groups. Next year, you'll definitely find me at these clubs: Marketing, High-Tech, West Quest, & Gross Prophets. And if time permits: Chicago Women In Business, Dean's Marketing Action Committee, Chinese Business Student Association, & Giving Something Back. I think all the top schools are comparable when it comes to student clubs, and if there's something you want that they don't have - start it! :-)

  6. Alumni. The GSB impressed me when my new alumna mentor came knocking on my inbox. Grabbing coffee with her in the city, we chatted for hours about her GSB experience and most importantly, life after the GSB. On top of my wonderful student mentor, I found the alumna's experience of how the MBA added value to her full-time career and how we (as women) can find ways to balance work-life responsibilites helpful to my long-term planning, or how I can prepare myself for step #6.

  7. Rankings. The GSB is extremely reputable with its top rankings. The only downfall I see is that the GSB may not be as strong internationally (or at least in Taiwan). Johnson and Anderson have strong University reputations. "Cornell - the Ivy League?!" Or "UCLA - sure thing!" Then we come to The University of Chicago. My mother sat there scratching her head the first time I told her about the school...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

University of C's

My University of Chicago deposit check is in! Sad parting letters to Johnson and Anderson have been written. (A post on my Chicago decision soon to come! My past few weeks have been jam-packed with the successful completion of my team's Girls For A Change project - woohoo! - and my dad visiting from Asia. Thus, sorry for the slow posts!)

Walking into Quizno's for lunch, I was shocked to see the entire University of California, Los Angeles baseball team sitting there feasting upon Quizno subs. The place reeked of B.O. :-P (And what they were doing in Fremont beats the heck out of me. Berkeley's up north, yo!)

In all the excitement of full-time business school decisions, I almost forgot about my part-time applications. Today, I received an e-mail from the University of California, Berkeley: Haas Evening & Weekend program for an interview. I applied to both types to keep my options open of perhaps gaining more work experience while studying (and f0r wanting to remain in the tech sector). As Foobarme had also compared the two options, the wheels in my head have begun turning again...