The first week the Pre-MBA International Program has finished. It was fun and intensive, and I feel like I’ve been studying here for a month, not a week.

A typical day here looks like this:

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Pre-MBA First Days

Friday was the first day of the Pre-MBA international program at HBS. It was lots of fun! We hadn’t started studying (perhaps that’s why I had so much fun…), and it was a registration and introduction presentations day.

The main thing I enjoyed was the people. I always thought that’s a cliché, but the people really make the difference! Everyone I talked to was extremely friendly and intelligent. In just a few hours, I had insightful, interesting conversations with other students from Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Japan… I already know more about these countries than I’ve previously known – for example, did you know that the Philippines is a nation that loves singing?

The day itself included registration and several presentations by HBS administrative staff. Everything was superbly organized; for example, the presentation of the healthcare representative was so engaging it almost made you want to go to the doctor, just for fun. In HBS classrooms, every student has in front of her 4 voting buttons marked A-D; the lecturer can ask a question with multiple answers, the students then vote and the results are immediately shown on one of the screens in class – it’s really neat. So the health presentation consisted of many such questions, which made it really interactive and amusing.

In the evening we already went out together as a group. That was also an experience in itself – Cambridge was practically full of people of all ages and sizes; apparently that night on midnight was the official release time of the last book in the Harry Potter series. So people were forming huge lines in front of open bookstores (in the middle of the night!), dressed like characters from Harry Potter and taking pictures of themselves dressed like characters from Harry Potter. We had to go through ten different bars till we finally found a place that accommodated all of us.

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Hello from Boston!

July 17th, 2007

I’ve been here for less than a week and have already:

  • Opened a bank account (in Bank of America)
  • Got a new mobile phone and number (Verizon)
  • Registered with Harvard International Office
  • Moved in to my new apartment
  • Started filling it up
  • Met a dear friend in Atlantic City and spent a night there
  • Ate twice at HBS (was pretty good!)

The main efforts are currently concentrated in the “filling up the apartment” section. Here’s a representative example:

My Bath – the “Before” picture:

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My bath – the “After” picture:

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The first semester at HBS starts on September 4th. I’m here early because I’m participating in two pre-MBA courses: the Pre-MBA International program and the Analytics program.
The Pre-MBA International program starts next Sunday and lasts three weeks. It consists of four modules: Learning Business through Case Method, Case-Based Exam Writing, Effective Speaking Workshops, Living and Learning @ HBS. Its goal is to prepare international students to studying at HBS (with emphasis on the unique case method learning) and living in the US.
I look at it as a good opportunity to meet many other international students and start studies in a more relaxed environment, while getting acclimated to living in Boston. And I’m sure that in addition to studying we’re going to have lots of fun…

I’m really looking forward to it, should be much more fun than shopping at Ikea.

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HBS classroom – here we come…And to all my friends visiting this blog for the first time – welcome and keep in touch ;) note that you can subscribe to email updates of the blog at the top right corner.

After an amazing surprise party on Saturday, I’m leaving for Boston on Wednesday. So I guess the next post will be from there (unless I find myself bored at the airport…).

As many applicants are currently working hard filling in online applications, in this post I have a few practical tips for making the process faster and simpler. No deep application philosophy this time, only simple technical tips. :)

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HBS just published a tentative schedule for the orientation week of class of 2009 (my class!). On top of academic stuff and administrative stuff, we’re going to have Club Night, Boston Harbor Boat Cruise, Movie on the Lawn and Casino Night (and they’re all sponsored by the Student Association…)

Sounds like lots fun and I’m looking forward to that :)

Now I only need to finish packing, do my last administrative stuff here in Israel and fly to Boston – this week.

Speaking of packing, here are a few packing observations from the extensive packing experience I’ve acquired lately…

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School Selection

July 5th, 2007

A few of you contacted me regarding school selection. In this post I outline parameters you can use when selecting schools to apply to (and later on, which school to go to…). I used some of these parameters in my own decision, but not all. Naturally, each individual has his own set of preferences and priorities. For the same reson, I don’t list the specific schools I applied to – I really don’t think my own specific list would help any of you. It’s a very personal selection and really differs from one person to another; considering the fact that you don’t really know me, I don’t think my own preferences will significantly help you…

Using these parameters you can narrow down the list of schools you’ll apply to. For example, if your spouse has to live in the East Coast, that will obviously rule all West Coast schools. Similarly, if you decided a small school size is absolutely crucial for you, Wharton or HBS (800-900 students each year) can be removed from the list.

So here are the parameters you can consider when selecting schools. If you’re really the planning type, you can use Excel to build a table of all relevant schools and all relevant parameters, and fill in the parameters for each school. You can even assign numeric ‘grades’ and calculate them for each school.

Parameters for School Selection

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Choosing Recommenders

July 3rd, 2007

I was asked via email about the topic of choosing recommenders for the MBA application. You can find a lot of advice on the subject in various MBA-related sites (ClearAdmit, Accepted – see my list of resources in Must Have Links for MBA Applicants), and even before that – the schools’ websites and their application instructions: the school actually guides you how to choose your recommenders, so do follow their instructions! Might sound trivial, but you’d be surprised how many people do not do it, for various reasons.

For example, from HBS FAQ page:

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Answers to questions I’ve been getting via emails, which I believe may interest many people reading this blog: application essays, how to choose recommenders, how to choose schools and more.

Feel free to ask questions – by mail or comments. I do promise to reply, but can’t promise a quick reply, especially after next week (going to Boston…)
So, here goes:

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