Friday, March 30, 2007

the last 2 weeks...

Ever since I received the 1st admit about 2 weeks ago, my wife and I have started to prepare for the move. We have tried to project our finances and budget - it is going to be extremely tight for us. We are likely to run a deficit every month based on the stipend that I'm going to get. So we may have to touch whatever little savings we have. We think that by the time I graduate, God willing, in 4 to 5 years time, we will be at Ground-Zero, financially. By then we will be in our mid-30s and our daughter will be 7 years old or so. And we will be pretty broke.

We are now trying to sell our house - our humble home for the last 4.5 years. We have to get the permission from the authority to sell; we need to get someone to buy soon, so that all the paperwork can be completed before we go off; we wish to sell at a price that both the buyer and ourselves are comfortable with. It is not easy to do all these when there is a deadline to meet. It is also not easy to say goodbye to the place - small and simple it may be, but we have experienced a lot in it....

We are also trying to find accommodation over in the US. We have been offered a place by a couple who will be returning. It's location is not too bad; it's rental is quite acceptable. However, we thought it might be better to get a slightly bigger place, so that there is enough room for our daughter to roam. Also, we hope to get a nice place so that my wife and daughter will be comfortable there - otherwise, the 4 to 5 years there for them would be hard to get by. But a nice place means not-so-nice rental.

Yes, it is as difficult as it sounds. Yet,we are kind of excited to see how God will work things out for and with us. Will we have enough money to survive? Will we be able to sell our house at our target price? Will we be able to find a nice place to stay over in the US? All we are sure of is that God will provide and God will lead. Yes, He will.

"Be strong and very courageous... Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:7, 9

Saturday, March 24, 2007

2nd ding

As expected, dinged by MIT.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

application status - facts and guesses

So far, I have officially received an admit (A-1), reject (Wharton), and waitlist (UT @ Austin).

I'm quite confident to say that I'm also waitlisted at NYU (A-3) and Maryland (B-2) school. Dings are likely as I think people accepted to these schools are likely to accept the offers.

That's left another 2 schools: MIT (A-4) and GSU (B-3). I think it is mostly likely a ding at MIT.

[Note: The A-1, A-2, etc refers to the Tier-Order of mentioned. It doesn't mean my ranking for the school. E.g. B-2 refers to the 2nd school in the Tier-B list that I have mentioned in this blog.]

Sunday, March 18, 2007

let's talk about the first admit

When I received the unofficial offer email from the PhD Committee Chair, I was happy but, honestly, not as excited as I had imagined.The excitement has been building up during the entire application process as I see God opening door after door for me for this particular school. I was excited when I managed to connect with an alumni from the program. I was very delighted when, through the alumni, I connected with a prof in the program. I was excited when I was asked to have a phone discussion with a more senior prof in the program. So when the offer finally came, the excitement was somewhat relatively muted.

It has been a few days since I received the offer. Finding out more about the place, my wife and I are getting excited about the move. Looking for a church, housing, car, nursery, fun places, hospitals, etc.... Talking about how often she and my daughter should come back and visit the relatives and friends... Things still seem surreal at this point, but we have a fun time thinking and planning for the move.

Yet, over the last few days, my heart has been extremely heavy and burdened. Getting this offer means that I have to leave, at least temporary, the startup that I co-founded over the last 8 years. It is not a good time to leave as there are unresolved issues in the business. Breaking the news to my partners is an extremely high mountain to climb. Discussing the arrangements to be made is going to be mentally and emotionally tough. My hope is that I get to keep, first, the friendships and, second, the partnership with them. If I have to leave the startup completely just to keep the friendship, I would. But I do believe that the research that I will do will contribute to the business in one way or another - and the partnership can still go on with some adjustments to be made.

I'm continuing to commit these burdens to God - whatever will happen with my involvements in the startup, I believe it is for the best for me. It has been wonderful to rely on God all these while - in the application as well as other aspect of my life. I will continue to rely on Him and allow Him to lead and guide me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

waitlisted at UT @ Austin

Just received an email telling me that I've been waitlisted at the school UT @ Austin (B-1).

That's ok, that's ok. I have kinda expected it as I have seen many people posting "admitted" news in a forum. But it is nice for the school to at least inform me about my status. I have yet to hear a single word from 4 others schools that I have applied to.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm in.

Received an email from the Chair of the PhD committee that they are preparing an offer letter for me.

I guess that means I'm in, right?

My first admit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

still waiting....

Over the pass few days, I saw people posting offers received from the same schools and programs that I'm applying to. One of it is for the first school that interviewed me UT @ Austin (B-1). The other is for a Tier A school (NYU (A-3)) that have not contact me at all. My guess is that I'm on the waitlist or will be receiving the rejection notifications from these schools soon.

Actually I'm kind of unemotional now while waiting. Initially (late Jan/early Feb), I was pretty excited and checked my email and app status multiple times daily. Now, I just check with no expectation of any changes in the status. Maybe when I get the first admit, I will become excite again.

Friday, March 09, 2007

one small step forward....

I had my 2nd interview for School A-1 today. It was a face-to-face meeting, lasting about 30 mins. Basically, the issues that were raised during the 1st phone interview were being brought up again. Why were your grades like this? How's your commitment? Why PhD? etc. The Prof was as nice and friendly in person as she was on email.

When it was time for me to ask questions, I asked THE question: So, what's my chance? It was good to hear that I'm pretty high on the shortlist, but ultimately, I'm not in until I'm in. I also find out more about the school and program. It sounds like a nice place to get the PhD - although the program is pretty demanding and the school would not hesitate to drop you if you don't clear the comps.

Generally, things sound positive for me. It is getting exciting....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

2nd interview from the 2nd school

I will be having a face-to-face meeting with another Prof from the school that I last had my interview (A-1). This Prof is the one whom I had been communicating with for the last few months. The Prof is in (my) town this week, and wishes to meet up with my for a chat regarding my application.

I take it as I'm still in the running, which is good. I guess we may talk about my research interest and my seriousness in academia.

By the way, today's devotion was taken from Mark 11:22 - "Have faith in God." How timely. How appropriate. How true.

Friday, March 02, 2007

let's talk about the first ding

Very early this morning, when I received the email from Wharton that I could view the application status, I anticipated it to be a ding. After all, I didn't have any interviews nor did I managed to touch base with faculty there. I woke my wife up (it was around 1 am) so that we could see the status together.

After seeing the outcome, she asked me how I felt. I was actually quite positive... similing away... and didn't feel too bad about it. After all, it is Wharton and so what I have a GMAT 750 + dean's list, etc? I read of some gmatclubbers' profiles (GMAT 780, 5 publications, Master degrees, etc.) who applied to Wharton - the competitions at schools like Wharton are simply tough and these schools have the luxury of being as selective as they wish. Hence I was quite ok about the ding as I went to bed (had no problem sleeping).

Now, half a day after seeing the outcome, I do feel a little "sore". It's not about the outcome but more about not knowing what went wrong with my application. Misfit research interest? Sub-par profile? Weak SOP? I guess it is human's nature to ask Why? Sadly, I will never know.

The negative outcome does shake my confidence a bit for the other applications that I'm waiting to hear (despite that the ding was from Wharton). Nevertheless, I'm keeping my faith.

1st Outcome - Wharton, Dinged

Received an email notification from Wharton in the early hours of Mar 2. Logged in to the application system and saw the rejection letter. It is a straight ding - no interviews, etc.

Wharton was a Tier-A school in my application.