Take my case for instance. I wrote the GMAT exam, applied to US Schools, attended IMS coaching classes for CAT (in Stella Mary's College :-) ), wrote CAT, got engaged, went around with my then-future-wife( blogged about it here, here and here).. oh .. yeah and then I also worked. And worked on a project that squeezed the last drop of blood out of my body. Apart from all this I was involved in a lot of other personal stuff too. I did not want to give up on celebrations like the ones mentioned here, here and here. This travel blog (which made many people literally gape) was going on at the same time too along with some funny confusions. It was as if I was competing for a guiness record on masochism. It was fun up to an extent and then it became a blood bath. By October, I was reduced to continuous 50 hours of no sleep per week, bad temper, cursing India's non-existent high-speed internet, dead-slow dial-up connection, banging my laptop at 3:00 AM in the morning, driving to work at 11:00 PM in the night(because home internet was not working) and submit an application at 4:00 AM in the morning 10 minutes before the dedline. Oh did I mention??? I got married in the same time period. Got up at 5:00 AM the day after my marriage (as I had done the whole week before marriage) to study for the Wharton Interview. The day after marriage, I Flew from Madras to Bombay to attend the Wharton interview. Came back, went with a gang of screaming relatives to Thirupathi. Walked from Thirumala to Thirupathi. Came back and attended the Darden interview. Next day flew to Switzerland for my honeymoon. Came back and found out that I had been admitted to Michigan. Only after seeing the admit, did I back out of the IIM corporate quota application process going on at work ( I had a pretty decent chance of getting in).
So I am not impressed when many people complain about lack of time (because of work) to prepare for GMAT. It pisses me off when many people complain that it is not an "ideal situation" in their life to attempt something of this magnitude. Let me tell you two things. Firstly, you will never have a lot of time for even the most important preparation in your life. Secondly, and this is something that I strongly believe in, mainly because I have been burnt by it before. And that is - there is never an ideal time to do anything in your life. There never is. There is always an inconvenience, a complication, an unforseen problem, a random change of plans. I personally had a million things like this. What the Sucess blog tried to do was to say that such things should not be looked upon as bad luck. But as evidence of your requirement to plan better and fight it out. Get the adrenalin flowing. Because fighting it out during an inconvenient time, is probably the only time when you will live life to the fullest.
The point of the whole thing is -- As I sat down to write a blog on MBA application process timelines. I thought it might not be a bad idea to set the ground for people to understand what "getting somewhere" should mean to them. And also talk about some of the philosophies around this topic. I wanted to inspire people ( mainly some of my friends who are currently confused) that getting somewhere, means risking what you have in hand now. It involves fighting, putting a lot of things at stake, and risk falling in deepshit. For a person who has been in deepshit a lot of times in life, let me tell you this -- there is nothing as satisfying as hunting and fighting for something. You will be in deepshit but it will be nice when you get out of it. If career is something you take seriously, MBA is a drastic change in your career, lifestyle and your conception of work. Above all - you don't have to do it to survive. When you know that you can shutdown all this, not do it, and settle for a 9-5 work life, it is so easy not do it. But when you still try and sweat out to do something (not just MBA but anything.. something like "making a movie" like my friend ozdude is considering) beyond your actual work and probably beyond what you thought you were capable of -- its a pleasure in itself. It makes living worthwhile.
Specifically, applying for MBA either in India or abroad, takes a lot out of you. When I was starting this application process and tried to scope the work involved various people gave me 100,000 opinions. There are some annoying people ( a very few) who apply to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton and get into all three of them without a sweat. A fraction of that chosen few will tell you that the application process is not a big deal. I was not one of them. So I wont tell you "it is not a big deal". Chances are many of you readers will not be one of them. So it will be a big deal for you. Many people who did not get into any school worth mentioning will also say that it is not a big deal. Usually I understood that as the reason why they never got in. Many people are destined to sweat, go that extra yard, and take the pain to extricate themselves from mediocrity. This process is frustrating and sometimes emotional. If you are pretty passionate about your career -the US MBA application process could be construed as a direct judgement about your life. In your essays, you write about your philosophy, your passion, your goals, your entire life's work. A rejection could cause you re-evaluate your estimation of your worth. Believe me there is drama in MBA application. I have seen quite a few people breakdown and cry during a rejection or when waitlisted. It is painful. All this transalates to hard work and attitude. So be prepared for some real hardwork. Be prepared for some hard core time- management. I wasn't good in either of them. Ask my friends they will tell you how lazy I am. To be blunt, if you want something badly -- do the hardwork. To be even more blunt, it is always easier said than done. If I can do it, I figure a lot of people can ( and I dont say such things lightly).
The month, preceeding my eventual Michigan admit, was so crazy that I had to write a blog to inspire myself. I wrote this three days before marriage because of my anticipation of the crazy schedule to come. Which reminds me of an other thing - This blog. Which I started in the most busiest period of my life. That my readers assumed (based on the fact that my blogs were yawn'ishly loong) that I had way too much time to spare, only made me smile wryly becuase the truth was that this blog was a way of ventilation. It is easy to say that a person must maintain his/her humor and balance in life during tough moments but one's got a find a way (a process) to express that. This blog was that process, that medium where I could let off steam. And what a companion it has been. Everytime, I wanted to scream, shout and tear someone/something to pieces - I blogged. It is frustrating and maddening to write essays with word limits. MBA essays test the limit of your capacity to write briefly, succintly. You have to say a lot in 2 words. It is a separate art in itself (more of that later). Everytime the 400 word limit in the MBA application essays made me feel constipated, taut, wound up and made me go mad, I'd write a freakishly long blog. When I was at the peak of my essay writing, I never wrote anything MBA. When my night dreams began to feature word documents be justified and edited, I knew stuff was wrong and something had to be done. This blog, even if it took precious time in my already crowded life, helped me focus on non-MBA things when everything in my life (including dreams ) was MBA. This is a screaming medium for which I am very thankful for.