Team Gr8r

December 26, 2009

Today, I’m meeting one of my recommenders in the evening. I’ve been thinking about it since last night. He has been by direct supervisor, my mentor, and knew I’d be applying for an MBA even before I’d told him so. He’s not the only one. All my recommenders are in the same league – supervisors cum mentors who know me so well, and believe in me so much that it is almost humbling. And they have had to take time out of their very busy schedules to read the essays I’ve sent them – one containing interview excerpts of Ms. Leopold, another a write-up of the history of HBS and details of the admission process and student and faculty profiles, and yet another listing the work I’ve done under them. The last essay is totally useless, for they know it all. And then they’ve had to write the recommendations – each 250-word essays.

And they are just one set of people who are helping me through the process.

When I look at the journey I’ve undertaken over the course of … well, over a year now, I have come to understand that I am indebted to a lot many people – my GMAT tutors who prepared me and constantly encouraged me to go beyond what I thought I could achieve, my friends on Beat The GMAT from whom I learnt so much, and who so thoroughly encouraged me through-out the preparation phase, my friends who looked through my essays despite their own busy schedules, current students from HBS who sat down with my essays soon after their first semester exams and gave such incredible feed-back, friends from GMAT Club who form such a great community, and from whom I have learnt so much, people who have guided me to the right materials, given me the right advise, my recommenders, my family, my friends, and strangers.

And I realise just how much it is at once my effort as it is everyone else’s. It is as if I am part of a team determined to get me to my destination – pushing me, guiding me, correcting my course when I go astray. I said earlier that the faith my recommenders have shown on me is humbling; what is even more humbling is the help I have received from others – at times from pure strangers.

I dedicate this post to my ‘team’ – to all of you who have been there and are still there. Because without you, it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Beyond the laminated glass

December 21, 2009

Every day, on my way to work, I see people on the sidewalk, I see people hanging off buses, crowding into rickety cabs, on their way to work. Many of them have an education, many don’t. Many have fled the tragic droughts of eastern states, their bank accounts nil, deep in debt with money-lenders forever on the head. They come from places thousands of miles away in search of a living. They toil hard for every scrap of food, every scrap of clothing they can afford, and send what-ever they save back to their villages, back to their sons and daughters, and wife and ailing parents.

And as I look at them I wonder … how many of them have thought of a Harvard education?

There are very few who can think beyond basic necessities. Who have the luxury, if I may call it so, of spending sleepless nights over a GMAT score, fewer who bite their lips over a 700. Even fewer who can think of applying to Harvard for an MBA. The vendor on the side-walk selling his deep fired samosas has not even had an education and perhaps never will.

I must be very ungrateful if I neglect to realise that I am lucky, very lucky indeed, to just be able to prepare my application for an MBA. There is very little that I have done which makes me a candidate. Most, or almost all, of it has been done for me. I salute those who have been accepted to their chosen schools in R1, I salute those who will make it to their choices in R2 and then R3. I must not however forget that there’s a world out there which’d never have a Harvard degree, or even the need for one. And I express my gratitude to HIM for allowing me this opportunity and hope I can make the most of the experience for the benefit of those who haven’t had this opportunity.