Saturday, September 24, 2005

Writing essays to INSEAD

I'm working hard on my INSEAD essays, as the deadline (5th October) is approaching fast. I'm glad with essays, though some of them are very condensed because of word limit.
How to write an essay about career in 250 words? I'll tell you.
First, write everything you want about your career, sounding as logical as you can. This will be 600-900 words.
Second, structure this brainstormed draft and underline point, which you cannot throw away at any rate.
Third, condense every part as much as you can: rewrite every sentence, shorten your phrases. Be a surgeon. No regrets.
You have to have about 350 words by now.
Forth, eliminate any articles and comparisons you have (if you can).
Fifth, read it aloud and eliminate or rewrite anything that sounds bad.
You're done :)
And after it (paraphrasing a famous Russian anecdote about tea), throw away everything you've done - and write yourself a proper essay. :)

[UPDATE: Famous Russian anecdote about tea.
An old Georgian man, Head of the family, who was the one to know the secret of making wonderful Georgian tea, - is dying. The whole family gathers around him and asks for this secret not to be carried to his grave. And he tells them.
- First, take a thin-walled tea-pot. Pour some boiling water into it and stir for 30 seconds counterclockwise. Empty the pot. Then take finest Georgian brewing, put it in the pot and pour hot water upon it. Mind you, the water should be very hot, but not boiling! Close the pot and cover it with a towel for 5 minutes. Then take this crap away and make yourself good Indian tea.]

Two scholarships

Talking about money and scholarships... Chevening (that's a scholarship for 1-year study, up to 20,000GBP with the deadline at 20th October this year) would not apply to LBS. So if I don't want to miss the chance of getting the money, I have to consider such options as Cambridge and Oxford. And perhaps, Cranfield, Bath and Warwick+ Will I have time (and recommender's) to cover all these this year? I'll think about it tomorrow, as Scarlett used to say.
I've also found a great scholarship program (I'm not eligible for). You can be eligible, if you live somewhere in the regions (I work in Moscow, and it is considered as I already had my chance') and you are poor, but smart. Not for MBA though. This is IFP (Ford Foundation International Program), web-site, deadline: January, 17th. It's a kind of offer you cannot decline (dream one), but as I said, alas, it's not for me and it's not for MBA.

And yes, I've bought 'Peopleware' in Russian! Some guys have already translated and published it (in May, 2005), so my dream has come true. No I have a long queue of friends, relatives and colleges, to whom I advertised the book and who are longing to read it.

Education exhibition

Today I've been at the 7th Exhibition of British Education in Moscow. And I decided to write about this experience, though to my mind it was the least useful event I've visited so far (considering education, of course). Mind you, there were no top-tiers there: no Oxford, no Cambridge. They don't need participating in such events, people will apply to them anyway.
Reading admission chats, articles, talking to students and alumni, - I gather the inspiration to work on my application. But this exhibition was, in fact, disappointing. The first man I told about my age, degree and work-experience (he was MBA-adcom from some university) asked: Are you kidding? How did you manage all that? You are too young to do everything you're talking of'. Conclusion: I should provide more information about I'm so awesome, I can do many things at once' in my application in order to clear this to other adcoms+ Or maybe people like me never apply to the school where he was an adcom? Well, I think I won't - the school doesn't even ask for GMAT.
Mind you, I don't need any reassurance that I have a chance of getting admitted, because I truly believe, that I won't find this out until I apply. The major obstacle, as I am being told, is age. The obstacle that will vanish in some years, but at that time I may already have a husband (with an owning character) and children+ so the next time I would probably think about MBA again - age would certainly be a problem, but this time, irretrievable :)
A short time ago, I've quitted talking with my friends about me-wanting-to-study-in-London, because the first question they ask where have you found money?' The question, which, I hope, I will answer when time comes. Not now. First aim - get admitted.
Well, I think it's good that people keep telling me the things I do are just impossible. Any other person (probably my rival), would have stopped. So I'm going be the one who actually applies :)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Some photos from St.Petersburg

As I promised, I'm posting some photos we took while in Peter.

Sunset at Finnish Bay.

Firework in Peterhof.

Spas-na-krovi church

Russian Museum.

This is the spirit of Peter: scaffolding and luxury side by side.

One of four famous horses of Klott on the Anichkov bridge.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trip to St.Petersburg

All God’s children need traveling shoes…

© Tanita Tikaram

I was going to write the post a week ago. But I managed only today, because I had no time at all since that. So, to the news.

I’ve got my transcripts all nice – translated and notarized so they look very impressive now. I did 4 copies of transcript and diploma and it cost me about $100 at Hors (, I can recommend this notary firm). Not cheap in my opinion, but I haven’t searched, so I can’t compare.

I’ve also prepared documents for my visa. That was not such a short process as it sounds. And tomorrow, Aeroflot airlines begin to hand out cheap tickets to London and will continue till 24th of September. I’m not sure whether it is wise to buy the ticket while not having visa yet, but… Well, I still have some time to think about opportunities of getting the ticket now and paying $150 or getting it after getting visa and paying $400+.

I’ve started drafting essays for INSEAD (describe-your-whole-life-in-no-more-than-250-words) and having problems with word limit. I guess everyone has, so I’ll think about it later, because first I need to brainstorm the framework.

Talking about life not connected to business school: I’ve gone to St.Petersburg (or as we call it: ‘Peter’) on weekend with my friends. And that was a trip!

Walked along Nevsky (5 times)… check

Been to the fountains of Peterhof and seen the greatest firework I’ve ever seen (Peterhof was celebrating its 300th birthday)… check

Gone to tour around the channels on the boat (well, that was freezing!)… check

Been inside the Spas-na-Krovi church (fantastic mosaic!)… check

Drank coffee and eaten the famous Peter’s apple ‘shtrudel’ (sorry, ‘apple pie’ is not the exact translation, and the dictionary cannot help)… check

Taken lots of photos… check

That were the most interesting points of my check-list. I checked them all!

And we were very lucky the weather was wonderful.

I strongly believe that Peter is the second ‘must see’ city in Russia. The first one is, of course, Moscow. I’ve been to it three times and I really enjoy going there. Architecture, museums and cuisine – three foundations of the city. It has also been considered as the most ‘polite’ city of Russia, but I don’t know whether it still upholds the reputation.

Maybe I’ll post some photos as soon as I get them from my friends :)

Ah! As for shoes – my new blue Sketchers turned out to be great: my feet didn’t ache at all in spite of all those long walks around the city!

And I’ll have to finish a project till the end of the week, so I’ll be really-really busy.

Good luck to everyone who is preparing for exams and gathering documents! The road is long, but interesting, and you meet a lot of great people along :)) Nd find yourself good travelling shoes first (even a towel is not that important!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Irish stew: transcript translation, exhibition, recommeder's presentation

...the advantage of Irish stew: you got rid of such a lot of things.
© Jerome K. Jerome

Today I went to the notary about my transcript. I was told: you're not the first, lady, and we do not need your own translation, no, thank you. Anyway I gave them my translation and my money, because I don't really care about the price now, I care about getting everything done on time. So I hope to receive the translation on Thursday and will tick another mark on my list (and will write about the outcome later).

Yesterday I visited some event called Business Education Exhibition (description
here in Russian). It was mainly devoted to Russian business schools, executive and on-line programs, so I was not hoping to get anything useful. But actually I did: I found a great journal - 'Harvard Business Review' (russian site, american site - american is better, because it has some articles online for free and not only abstracts). I'm reading a September copy of it now and I think it is the most interesting one I've read lately (including 'National Geographic', 'Playboy', 'Company' and 'Money' ;)).
Just for reference I checked how much the journal costs (I got it free - as a visitor). Well, it costs a whole lot, I even stop to think before buying a book for such sum! (about $14 a copy, while other journals mentioned here cost from $1 to $4).

Presentation for Recommenders. That's not required, but I feel myself better with it, than without :)

I used the following sources to gather thoughts:

1. "Recommendation letters too?" (

2. Mave's posts about recco-letters: 1 and 2

3. A number of Articles form starting with this one

4. Posts by ClearAdmit: 1 and 2

5. Presentation of some guy from McKinsey

If I missed something important, please, share in comments :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Busy schedule

You had a bad day... (Oh.. Holiday..)
© David Powter

I have my transcript in Russian signed and stamped (great thanks to a friend of mine, who went to the University three times to catch right people!). I even have done the translation. So all I need now is a notary.
I've also drafted my presentation for recommenders.
But it's a pity I cannot find time for my essays (though I have an idea what I will write in that "culture-shock" insead one - I've had it a week ago, actually).
I thought I will be free this week, because I've finished one project and my regular activities were not so urgent. Two next projects were due at the end of September, so on Wednesday I was going to work with such a happy face (probably) that people on the streets kept asking me what time it was.
Naive and happy girl!
All of a sudden I'm at a client (another one) and we are resqueing with a friend of mine a part of the project - like Chip & Dale - for the next 2 weeks. In the evening I'm so tired, that the only thing I can do - is have some supper and go to sleep.
This weekend I was invited to a barbeque and the next one I'm going on a trip to Saint-Petersburg with my friends. I wonder, how I will manage everything on time?
But I believe, that everything is happening on purpose :)