Should Girls Be Admitted To Business School?  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

The face of a soon to be MBA Mom, opting out of the workforce.

As a red blooded male, I must say that I'd love for more women to attend business school! But, it seems like everyone from that hyperactive admission consultant to BusinessWeek and WalletPop are all saying one thing: perhaps girls should not be admitted. Sure, they don't say it that blatantly, but look at headlines such as this one:

MBA Moms Most Likely to Opt Out
A new study finds MBA moms more likely than doctors or lawyers to stay home full-time

Surely this headline is only insinuating one thing, i.e. what good are they doing with their valuable MBAs while being at home?

WalletPop has some theory about woman heeding their biological call, and BusinessWeek says the business work environment is not structured to be as family-friendly as the fields of medicine and law. Perhaps these MBA Moms are the cleverest of them all, heeding to this cracker of a paragraph from the same BusinessWeek article:

Those men who want to reach the highest rungs of their career and earn the most money often need a stay-at-home wife to take care of all other aspects of their life, including raising a family, Williams said. "And since many women in business school marry those men, they end up being stay-at-home wives, regardless of their own vision of what they wanted from their careers," Williams said.

I wish I could marry a rich girl!


Accursed Online Application Forms!  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

The Wharton Admissions Committee, the wild bunch skilled in torturing your application, is ready and waiting for the golden army of application forms that includes yours. (I wonder if the school that asks about applicants' sense of humour itself has one).

Over the weekend I've been working on filling in some of the online application forms. I started with Wharton. I did not progress much further, with a few sections of Wharton still to do. Although I expected complexities and perplexities, I could not have imagined what form they would materialise in.
  • As I was filling in the employment history section of the application form, the session timed out! When I logged in, the details were wiped clean. It was frustrating and demotivating. I almost cried, 'I no longer want to apply to Wharton'. I've learnt one thing at least: click 'save' often!
  • Your employment history is asked for, as well as your CV. This makes me wonder whether the same information should be covered in both, or whether each should be tailored. If so, in what way?
  • Has no one else started filling these in yet? There were a few minor bugs in the website. When I put non numerical characters in the 'size of organisation' field, it said that I had put them in the salary fields. Not a major thing, but I can see it confusing people.
On the whole, I've been surprised by the amount of information collected on these forms. For example, they seem to ask the details of everyone who is close to you (parents, partner) as well as anyone from your family that might have been to the school. I do wonder how they will use this information.


The lure of women, beach and volleyballs.  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

Male MBA applicants the world over stop work for a day, 21st August. No one is sure of what might be distracting them.

Four years ago I was working in a Customer Support department. We had a TV screen that ought to be showing stats of customer queries. Instead, it was showing the Olympic women’s beach volleyball. When I changed companies, I thought those hey days were gone. I should have known different. I now work in an open plan office and all yesterday, just from where I was sitting, I could see three screens showing the women’s beach volleyball. One of these was a large projector beaming against the wall of the Director’s open plan office area. Just what is it about this sport that has captured so many hearts? I just don’t see the attraction...


The Undiscovered Essay  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

Spock and Kirk look at me in disappointment. They thought that I had found a fifth question on the Harvard application. Or at least an undiscovered country.

I have my application materials in so many places, it is unreal. I have copies of stuff on my home laptop, on my work laptop, on Google docs and even copies on a backup storage drive. I thought it would all be oh so easy to just use Google docs for everything. The only problem is...Google docs does not support some features on Word. So then it just becomes easier to have some things in Word format. They suddenly there are copies of the things everywhere.

Today I started writing a new essay for the Kellogg application. As I started to write it... I suddenly felt a deja-vu. This all seems so familiar! I did a search here and there... nothing. Then I had a look at my Google docs account. Ah ha! I have written this essay before! Has all this been going on so long that I've forgotten what I have and haven't done :-/ ...

I need some program to sync my documents in various places. Windows of ten years ago (i.e. Windows 98) used to come with a 'briefcase' feature to do this. I wonder what happened to that.

In other news, yes - I too noticed the Silence of the Applicants. But it seems like it was more to do with holidays than anything else. It's good to start seeing some of their posts again.


Let the Games begin!  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

MBA applicants from across the world gather for the annual competition for Business School entry to begin.

As HappyBunny notes, athletes of varying type gathered in Beijing on 08/08/08 for the start of one type of games. In the meanwhile, Wharton and Kellogg opened their applications over the weekend to let another set of games ramp up to full speed.

I feel like the application process has now really got into full swing. Applications are now open for all my target schools. At the moment I seem to be spending more time talking to my recommenders and discussing ideas than anything else. This is both a little frustrating, because I am not working much on my essays, but I also want them to get going on writing their part of the application. With five schools, I really feel they have a lot of work ahead of them.

In the meanwhile, the Dollar has strengthened over the last two weeks, slightly increasing the cost of any US MBA education to foreigners. Interesting times lie ahead!


GMAT's Sentence Correction source admits Errors  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in

If you've done the GMAT, you might know that many of the sentences used in the Sentence Correction part of the exam are taken from the New York Times and are then modified by GMAC for the purposes of the exam. One such example of this can be found here.

Though this will not really be useful for anyone yet to take the exam, an article has now been published by the New York Times highlighting the common errors they themselves print in the newspaper. Here is the link to the article and the header...

The Error That Won’t Die

Even in the rush to publish, writers and editors at The Times strive for polish and precision in our prose. Sometimes we succeed.
GrammarBut sometimes, after the dust settles, we are dismayed to see painful grammatical errors or embarrassing faults in usage. A quick fix might be possible online; otherwise, the lapses become lessons for next time.

These comments are adapted from After Deadline, a weekly newsroom critique overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of The Times’s style manual. The goal is not to chastise, but to point out recurring problems and suggest solutions.

Since most writers encounter similar troubles, we think these observations might interest general readers, too.


Harvard is capitalism’s cauldron?!  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

Yesterday morning one of my recommenders came by my desk at work and gave me a press cutting from the Financial Times. The story was a book review of Philip Delves Broughton's new book, Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School (or in the UK called What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism).

Below are extracts from the piece in the Financial Times, as well as another piece I found in a different paper, The Times. Enjoy!

Financial Times: A ‘poet’ in capitalism’s cauldron

All business schools pride themselves on recruiting “poets”, the non-traditional students who bring a different perspective to the classroom, usually populated by engineers, bankers or information technology specialists – or in the case of Harvard, according to Delves Broughton, by the “three Ms”: mormons, military and McKinsey.
Two themes stand out. The first is the extent to which students use their two years at HBS, frequently described by the school as transformational, to enact their aspirations and change their working lives. The answer in Delves Broughton’s cohort would seem to be very little, with most graduates succumbing to the inexorable pull of the lucrative banking and consultancy sectors, which they often went to HBS to escape.
The other is that of ethics. During his time at HBS, US business schools faced a dilemma after one applicant found a way to hack into the applications website and discover unofficially whether he had been accepted. He published the relevant web addresses online and many others followed suit, leaving an electronic trail. Harvard, like other top schools, rescinded any offers intended for these applicants. A straw poll in Delves Broughton’s class shows about three-quarters believe the Harvard administration‘s decision was “excessive and self-righteous”.

The Times: What They Teach You at Harvard Business School

The result of Delves Broughton’s time there is this funny and revealing insider’s view, revealing precisely because he is genuinely fascinated by the world of business, and his fascination is infectious. Yet feelings of unease emerge even before he arrives. He reads a student guide on What to Bring. “Don’t bring that guitar . . . Don’t bring any books from literature or history classes . . . Don’t bring your cynicism. Do bring all the diverse rest of you. We can’t wait to share the experience.” Immediately, his bolshie British bullshit- detector thrums into life: “Who were these people? And why did they talk like this? Why can’t I bring my cynicism? Or my books? Aren’t they a part of the ‘diverse rest of me’?” “Your calendar will be jam-packed with amazing, fun things to do,” warbles the guide.

Amazingly, despite this terrible threat, he persists. Instantly, he is swamped with work: company case studies, spreadsheet analysis, books called things such as Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado, intended to make him feel he’s doing something terribly daring and manly. He is surprised at the large presence of earnest Mormons and unimaginative former-military men in this cauldron of capitalism. But gradually this begins to make sense, for HBS is pervaded with an oppressive atmosphere of unquestioning obedience and creepy religiosity. There is the confessional My Reflected Best-Self exercise, to encourage students “to create a developmental agenda for leveraging their reflected best-self” and “work maximally from positions of strength”. Approved results sound like this: “I do not take on the negative energy of the insecure . . . I stay centred . . . I try to model the message of integrity, growth and transformation.” Delves Broughton is quietly incredulous that people actually talk about themselves like this, in public, straight-faced.


This is what it must be like to be a book author.  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

I woke up in this morning still a little bit drunk. My friends and I had been out last night in West Hampstead (just outside central London), after which we continued drinking at a friend's. I had been pretty much procrastinating all day yesterday trying to figure out what to write for my next essays. In my pocket I carried a sheet of paper that summarised the questions across the schools. I scribbled ideas on this throughout the night. One of my friends kept poking me, 'what matters to you most is Balance'. Personally, this does not ring true for me. Besides, haven't we been through this already?

I went about my Sunday routine today - in my case exercising for a bit then having brunch (because it's too late in the day to be having breakfast). Then I started working on writing. Sometimes an idea comes and I can write four or five hundred lines. At other times, I revisit my earlier writing and think 'urg!' - I need to do that again. Today neither would not be the case. Despite the scribbles on my piece of paper, nothing feels compelling. I'm not able to write anything that jumps off the page. I go for a walk to the town center in Harrow, where I live, and sit in Starbucks with my laptop. Some friends call. The first friend attempts to get me out to join him for dinner. The second I just natter to for half an hour... yes she is still going on about Balance. I keep telling her that I am not working on that essay!

I go home and have some dinner. I force myself to write a few things, in between chatting to some people on MSN and checking Facebook 324 times. Facebook and Instant Messenging: they are a curse. I also get some ironing done. I get back to the laptop. I've now written about two pages, but where is the feeling!


Is applying to multiple schools with one ApplyYourself account the norm?  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

I started creating my online accounts today for my MBA applications. They all seem to use ApplyYourself these days. I created the first account, then the second one... but when I got to the third, it said I already had an account and whether I wanted a reminder?! I opt for yes and hey presto - it turns out the logins I created before can be used for any school. So I only need one account?

Interestingly, Kellogg seem to have a new website (the old one looked more like this) and there is an initial suggestion that they don't / won't be using ApplyYourself, as evidenced by the login screen. and the EMBA application.