Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Links: Clearadmit wiki and new LBS Blogger

Clearadmit decided to make a Wiki and let all applicants participate in it and share their experiences. I think it's a fabulous idea, because most of such communitites need external stimuli - they usually die when applicants become students, stop marketing the community and no new blood comes in.
And another link I wanted to post today: Angie, next year LBS student, admitted in R1! Welcome to the blogging world! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My next steps

I got a good feedback from LBS (the lady which I met at the information session in Moscow was most helpful and provided me that feedback).

Admissions Committee felt that you clearly expressed your intelligence and ambition, but
(1) they were concerned about the lack of full-time post-graduate work experience that you've had
(2) they were also unsure how your work experience to date fits in with your short and long term career aims

What can I say?
I knew that (1) will be the weak point of my application. In UK you can get a bachelor in three years, but in Russia you have to study at least 5 years to get a degree (in my case – 6). And doctors study even longer. But any education, even from a top university is not considered enough to get a job afterwards. In many respects it happens because our universities do not provide specialist that business wants. So many students begin working while studying. This is not easy, because professors want to see you full-time at their lectures, or you will receive bad marks at the end of term. And employers know that you will need a study leave every January and June to pass your exams. Nevertheless, most Russian employers consider it as a good full-time working experience (most of 30-year-olds did the same, so they know). Business-schools consider it as part-time, as I know now.
I knew that (2) is the most difficult point to state if you want to change careers. And I was astonished to find so many clueless about their future work (I mean, among the blogging students). And I put a lot of effort in my application to show how I will prepare ground for myself (and have already prepared). But in this LBS Chat (5 December 2005) I found that if you want to switch, don’t change industry and position at the same time. For instance, if you worked in IT and want to go to marketing, find a marketing position in IT company. And that was what I did wrong: I didn't draw a linw between my current position and future one.

So what will I do now?
I am considering an application to MSc in Computer Science in Oxford. I know what I’m doing. This is all I need to apply to HSMP visa (well, it depends on how they will count my working experience, but it’s a minor point). And there is also a 12-month-work permit for Engineering Graduates in UK. I quitted the idea of switching careers for now. So enhancement (Oxford degree) will make me more competitive as professional. After all, applying to Oxford is easier than applying to B-School ;)
And if I’m successful (I have chances, I think) then I will postpone my idea of MBA for some two or three years.
If I’m not successful I will reapply to LBS next year. And maybe Harvard ;) And maybe some other American school (I’ll see, I still have time).

I won’t stop writing my blog. For instance, I want to write my next post about timing an application (I wanted to write it long ago, but didn’t have time ;) ).

How does is feel to be rejected

I feel good!
© James Brown

(I believe that this post will be useful to many people, because through your application process you usually receive at least one rejection.)

Unsuccessful? Disappointed? Misunderstood?
Nope. (Ah, well, yes, misunderstood – yes :))
Then – how?
* Prepared, because a week before the rejections from b-schools came, I went for a job interview (just an interesting vacancy, I planned it as some kind of ‘interview practice’). Which disappointed me a lot. They needed absolutely another person, not the one they described in their vacancy. A ‘rainmaker’: some 30+ year-old-man with connections to bring clients out of nothing. Not me. And, of course, rejection followed: ‘If only you were some 5 years older…’ (yes, I would have a husband and two kids and no more work experience than I have now). Maybe my CV was too good? ;)
* Flattered, because from the school answers I could judge that I’m ‘too young’. And show me a girl that doesn’t like being told she is young!
* Philosophical. My grandfather used to say: ‘If you miss this bus, it was not yours. The next will come and it will be yours’. That’s a great thought that saved me much nerve in life.

I started the whole MBA-thing for a following number of reasons.
1. Discover what route I want to take in life.
2. Challenge myself.
3. To go and live abroad (and this was the most fast and obvious opportunity concerning job search and visa, imho).
4. Give myself an immense present of studying in UK.

I cannot put a tick near every point of that list. But I got a lot of what I haven’t asked for.
For instance, I found that one of my recommenders thought about getting an MBA himself, so we had a lot to speak about.
I talked to my degree supervisor and found out that he now teaches parallel programming and grid computing. I envy those students who have his course now: they practice all that things – our professor made us write our programs on paper…
I came to UK and visited the School, and I felt at home there. No matter what adcoms think and how they choose, I know that I would have survived there and fit in ;)
I’ve done some research and I’ve immensely widened my reading list.
I’ve passed tests, and discovered that I do tests well! (‘Do you play the piano?’ – ‘Don’t know, I’ve never tried’)
I gathered everything on time, despite of bureaucracy at my University, broken printers of my recommenders, and all other obstacles that were on my way. I really enjoyed the process, though I cannot yet think of redoing it next year ;)
I found out that it’s OK to tell people about the rejections!
And finally, I would never forgive myself if I hadn’t tried.