Category: Reflections

VISA was the only thing in my way to CMU. I wanted to get that out of the way so that I can safely let IIMA admit go!. I reached Hyderabad on 4th June with all my luggage from Mumbai. I was to leave for Kerala on 6th June and be back on the 11th. I filled up all the necessary documents required for the VISA. I also just received the i20 form from college that finished the list of documents required for my VISA interview.

To my disappointment there was a slot open on 7th June and the next slot was 18th June. June 16th was the D-day for IIMA and I did not want to take the risk of scheduling my interview on the 18th. In a hurry I cancelled my kerala flights and booked the slot on 7th. I took all the necessary paper work and appeared for the interview on 7th. The interview lasted less than a minute and was a piece of cake. The Visa interviewer kept my passport telling me that VISA will be stamped and the passport mailed in 2 business days! As the last hurdle was also out of the way.

I booked a same day flight to Madurai to meet my friends in the middle of our previously planned kerala trip :)

After taking the decision of joining CMU, I put down my papers and wanted to spend 2 months at home with my family. I desperately needed some time to reflect upon myself and to gear up for an amazing adventure that waits at CMU. It was finally May 30th and my last day at work. It was an amazing 3 years that I had at Morgan Stanley, Mumbai. I learnt a lot of things from the numerous mistakes that I had made in the past 3 years.

I met a lot of people, bid my adieu to grad mates, completed all my formalities and came back to my desk by noon. My team had become my second home. The bonds I had built were hard to break. I felt very sad that I was leaving. Natasha wrote me a nice little poem, something I will not forget in the years to come. I stayed at office till 8 pm after spending good quality time with everyone I knew at work. I had a tough time controlling the tears in my eyes as I parted ways. For the next few days I will be busy packing stuff and will leave soon for kerala where I will be spending time with my wing mates at IITM.

Two weeks after I got the admit from IIMA, the dilemma started. CMU was my choice but I couldn’t defend my decision well. I wasn’t sure whether that was the right decision. Getting into IIMA was hard and I had spent a better part of 3 years to finally achieve that. Everyone recommended me to go to IIMA as if it were a trivial choice to make. Sreejith and Mayur however suggested CMU.

Some of the positive points I was considering were:

MFE programs in the US:

1. Proximity to all the happening things in the Finance industry.

2. 12 to 18 months course duration — Lesser opportunity cost.

3. International exposure

MBA from IIM’s

1. Cheaper in terms of fees. (30k USD for 2 years)

2. Very good career services. 100% placements irrespective of economic downturns

3. Very well recognized in India

4. Broader range of career options

MFE was significantly costlier and riskier. So if my decision were to be CMU I had to be absolutely sure that five years down the line I would be a quant researcher and I would be loving my job. Among the various other job opportunities that IIMA would offer me I was only interested in finance jobs or taking up roles where I had a good amount of responsibility.

I wanted more time and hence I paid the initial non-refundable deposit to IIMA. I began to explore myself to make a decision. Math has always been my area of interest and that made me believe quant job would give me the required job satisfaction. I bugged Ashutosh Fonia at work often and he helped me think my way out. A long discussion with Sreejith on IIMA and my seniors at CMU helped matters.

I had finally decided to take the risk of joining CMU.

My father supported me well with my decision. I feel following my passion will help me achieve things. This meant I had to pay more fees, take on a bigger risk of not getting a good job and in short “follow the road not taken”. I might have been one among an elite few who don’t end up going to the IIM’s after admits from the top three. This was the first time in my life I was taking a decision against the advice of so many. This made me jittery and nervous but I hope I will not regret this decision later on! I am now all excited to be in CMU soon and follow my passion and experience the US education system.

Soon after my CMU admit I had already made up my mind of joining CMU. I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the IIM results! One fine morning IIMC released the results. That was the worst interview that happened according to me. My sister checked the results for me and told me I was 3rd on the waiting list!! That was a sure shot admit. Most of the top students get all the top 3 IIM admits and they prefer IIMA. So there was a high chance I would convert IIMC.

I took my entire team at office for a lunch at Little Italy for my CMU admit the same day. The treat had been pending for over a week now and finally everyone found the time out to come along. We had a lot of fun there and at the end I announced to the team that I almost made it to IIMC. The immediate response was “where is the next treat :P

I was very elated and was almost sure that I would clear IIMA and IIMB easily. I had done their interviews pretty well. The same day I began to wonder if in case I get IIMA would I change my mind and join there? I had been aiming to score well in CAT since 2008 and this was my 3rd attempt at it. I had finally done well in Verbal to get all the calls and had done well in my interviews too! Finally when the results were near I felt very uneasy ditching them.. IIMA had been my dream. Just attending the interview for WIMWI made me so happy that I would remember that moment for the rest of my life. I realized this would be a very tough call to make. Suddenly I began to pray not to get into IIMA.

I left home late and on my way Mayur called me up a couple of times. I thought that IIMB results were out too! Since I was on my way I gave him my test ID and he verified the results. He called me back to tell me that I had not made it. I was shell shocked. The interview went well. I had a decent profile and a very good CAT score too. I reached home in despair and wanted to check the results for myself. I looked my test ID and realized I had given the wrong one. The last two numbers had gotten interchanged. I keyed in the correct ID and then the result was there! I had made it through to IIMB. I called up Mayur to tell him I made it. The joy was there, so was the confusion too! What now of IIMA? The results were not out yet.

IIMA interview was near flawless. I had done extremely well, even to my expectations. I was 100% sure I would get through. I tried calling Sreejith and Namuna for some advice on IIMA without even waiting for the results. Next day morning my sister called me up when I was in the office to tell me I was selected to WIMWI too. I wasn’t as happy as the day of my interview. Confusion was all over me L 3 years of waiting and it was finally here. And all I do is not join?!? My manager and my teammates then congratulated me. Everyone reminded me as to how hard is it to get there. What were the odds that I would have made it to the top IIM’s? All the effort that went in to improve my English! From a 52%le in my first year to 85%le the second time and to 97.3%le the third time I took CAT, there was a remarkable improvement. Over 200,000 students gave the test and to score a 99.7%le was a great feat and then to have a strong enough profile to get interview calls and then convert all the three was just a dream come true for me.

I seriously started to consider joining IIMA over CMU and if I were to make the decision at this point in time I will be a WIMWI-an :)

April 3rd and its over a month since I had my IIM interviews. My interview for Masters in Computational Finance at Carnegie Mellon University went pretty well too. I was quite sure that I would get at least 2 IIM admits between IIMA / IIMB / IIMC and also that I would get the MSCF admit too!

So I was pretty sure that rejecting a Columbia admit wouldn’t prove that detrimental at the end. But I felt uneasy and disturbed. Wasn’t myself during the entire weekend eagerly waiting for the MSCF results. Last night I got a freakish dream where I imagined myself with no admits at all and I was repenting for my decision over Columbia. I woke up from the nightmare and was happy to realize it was only a dream. With so much hopes pinned on the result that were to be released on April 4th I came home early from work.

I refreshed my mailbox every 5 minutes and checked the CMU site very frequently. But no sight of any results.!! Soon when Synti came from work and I ask him for a game of DotA. We play the game together for a couple of hours and I totally forgot about the result. Just before going to sleep I checked my mail box again. There was a mail from CMU. I nervously opened the mail and I was asked to click a link to find out the result. I clicked that! Internet was way too slow and it took a while to open up. It was a flash file and it loaded slowly. The wait made me even more nervous. My roomie was also eagerly waiting with me breathing down my neck.

And finally the file got loaded and there were fireworks on my screen with a message displaying “Congratulations”. The very next moment I was jumping in joy!!

I was literally screaming and dancing. Synti immediately congratulated me. My heart felt light. CMU was on the top of the list of places I would go! I wanted to call everyone with this great news. Since it was already 1 at night, I decided to wait on and had a great nights sleep!


After the 3 minute interview I had for Columbia University, I was certain for sure that either they liked my profile that they wanted to admit me or they wanted to reject me. I was asked 3 questions – Why columbia? why MFE? and how will i fund my studies? Last year everyone who had an interview was either wait listed or admitted. So the chances were high :) From 24th feb, the last date for the interviews, I was eagerly checking my mail box every 2 hrs to see if i had an admit. It was a long wait. on 26th Night i had a dream that i got through. All excited i got up only to realize it was a dream. But to make sure, i got to my Mac and to my distraught! – NO Internet!! :(

I used my 3G on my mobile to find out what happened and after 15 mins of sync up! – No Email :( I went to office and for the entire day never looked at my inbox. I came home late from work and played dotA with synti till 1 PM. Just before going to bed, I opened my mail box and the “Most important” mail was there. The subject read – “Decision on your Columbia M.S. application”. My heart was in my mouth as i opened the mail. The second word said “Congratulations”. I was erupting in joy. I couldn’t read further and was getting very emotional. I stayed away from games for almost 9 months as i spent what ever free time that came my way improving English, giving GRE, CAT and GMAT in successive months. Then went through tough times writing SOP’s and essays and what not! It was a tough 9 months in my life and finally a sweet result — “COLUMBIA ADMIT”

My Facebook status as of now has over 70 likes and 50 comments! something i never got ever! ever!! :) (of course I am a boy! ;) ). I am all excited now and am eagerly waiting for MIT, CMU and my IIM results. It will be a tough next few months as i am now spoilt for choice :D . I dunno which option i will choose, but it is a very confusing choice to make. I will be talking to as many people as possible who can clear my doubts and help me make the decision. Though i don’t want to count the chicken before they hatch, I am now highly optimistic of my profile now that an IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL has considered me worthy :) \m/

November 26th 2011 witnessed another record go down to Vettlel. Nigel Mansell held the record for the maximum number of pole positions with 14 out of 16 races enroute to his world championship crown with Williams team. That year was one of the most single sided championship ever in F1′s history. With all the new rules and regulations in F1 trying to make it a competitive sport, no one ever imagined the record to be broken.

But here is Vettel, now a double world champion, broke the record with 15 poles at the Brazilian Grand Prix. When he equalled the record at the penultimate GP, lot of hype about him breaking the record put a lot of pressure on the 24 year old. It being the last race added more pressure as Vettel had only one shot at the record. This record just summarizes his dominance in a year which featured 5 world champions competing for the championship.

Friday’s qualifying was not that great for RedBull and the chances looked bleak. Brazilian GP is the only circuit where races drive counter-clockwise and has a lot of ups and downs making it one of the toughest races on the calendar. McLaren had a good car coming in to the final qualifying and Vettel had to produce an absolute blinder of a lap in order to make his claim on the coveted record.

In the final session, when all the world champions were making mistakes on the punishing circuit, Vettel kept his cool amidst all the pressure driving an absolute perfect lap and romped home in perfect style. He was the only one to break the 1 minute 12 second barrier just beating his teammate Webber by 1/10th of a second.
Just at the age of 24, the way he managed to keep his nerves and deliver despite the huge expectations to perform makes me feel jealous and at the same time look up to him for some inspiration!
– A Salute to the Master!

I was in nellore happily enjoying with my cousins when i suddenly remembered that the results were due tomorrow. I was very nervous, given that i had a very bad outing at the PI session. I literally had no hope, but I was still very very nervous. These days i had been used to taking a lot of failures but never actually took them seriously. But a day later when i realized that i was bumped by IIMB i felt sad. My efforts for a good part of 2 months had gone to drain.
I strongly feel its time to start some serious effort into building a career of my own. Only when i realized how much effort i put in the last few months for IIMB, i start to wonder how much time i had wasted for a good part of 18 months since i joined in Morgan Stanley. The last few months have taught me that nothing in life comes for free and there is no shortcut to success.
I wish i take this failure very seriously and work hard to achieve something. Its high time i got rid of my addiction – GAMING and start to work on my skills. Gaming is slowly but surely taking a toll on my life. There are a lot of things i could have done in the past 18 months and i haven’t. Last 18 months were a great fun and i just cant keep having fun all the time without spending some time on my career. I wanna go ahead and achieve something and hope this bump to be best thing that could have happened to me in the recent past. I really HOPE! :|

P.S: Wrote the above with a lot of positive urge to do something and achieve something.
(with some inspiration from the talk with bhargav — 23rd April)

Time and again i find myself in some sort of stress or the other. I always keep asking me what do I do get rid of it. I think of Yoga and meditation for a while, but then am too lazy to do that on a daily basis.
Bored at home i was watching the 4th edition of IPL between the RCB and Kochi and i noticed the way DeVilliers was playing. Towards the end when RCB had an uphill task of chasing down 60 odd runs in 35 balls, he constantly went down to his partner and kept on passing a funny comments making saurabh tiwary smile often. RCB eventually won the match and quite comfortably as DeVilliers guided RCB home.
I had never tried to smile whenever i was stressed out. I generally keep to myself constantly aggravating the scenario hoping for a miracle to happen. Most often than not i have been lucky to have had miracles that got me out of these scenarios. I hope to have finally found an alternate stress buster ” smile and make smiles ” :)
Hope this helps when i am in stressed the next time