Monday, June 25, 2007

Small Piece of Wisdom: ISIC

Before you book your flight to your school, register as a student: sign up for ISIC card (or Youth Card, if you are under 25). It may save you a load of money. With ISIC, I bought my ticket for NY for 30% of its regular price. If you wonder what kind of reference you should bring as evidence of your student's status, in my case an F-1 visa was sufficient.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Your Ideas are Welcome

Summer is all around, and blogs nowadays become a bit deserted, but if you happen to read this, fellow applicants & students, let's brainstorm the following question:

I want to bring some gifts with me to present them to the Adcom members and students who were in contact with me during my application process. Any idea what would make a nice gift is sincerely appreciated :) To remind you about my stats: I am in Russia and have about 1 month till my transition to USA.

P.S. Bringing a container of vodka is out of question ;)

P.P.S. Guys and gals, if you do not mind, mark your location on Bravenet Guestmap on the right side of my page - I wonder how disperse my readers are geographically :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Increase in rates on federal loans in USA & New subcategory for J-1 visa proposed

As reported by

This year federal student loan rates increase in USA is one of the smallest increases on record. Both Stafford and PLUS loans go 0,08% up, which approximately equals to $1 increase a month for loan borrowers with $20,000 in debt. By comparison, last year the rates rose by 1,8%.


State Department proposed a new subcategory for holders of J-1 student visa. The new subcategory will enable international business students to apply for internships up to 1 year long. Currently, J-1 visa holders are also able to apply for internships in USA; however, the new subcategory will ease the process in terms of bypassing certain general requirements for applicants for temporary work permits.

Still, experts state that J-1 visa holders are in less privileged position compared to F-1 competitors, as the majority of employers believe that J-1 holders have limited potential for continued employment. This is due to the fact that in many cases J-1 visa forces students to take the burden of staying out of the country for two years following expiration of their visas.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

ESMT "Managing Innovation" Master Class in Moscow

European School of Management and Technology's Director, Professor Francis Bidault, will hold the Master Class in Managing Innovation in Moscow at June 18th.

Innovation is an essential capability helping companies create competitive advantage and even change the rules of a whole industry. Prof. Bidault, who has done extensive research on innovation management and has been a consultant to numerous multinational organisations, will explore together with the participants how to achieve successful innovation.

Friday, June 01, 2007


As you may know, many American colleges and universities have nicknames. Formally, University of Virginia's nickname is Cavaliers. Virginia Cavaliers were royalist supporters in the royal colony of Virginia at various times during the colonial period of the United States. Nowadays, it is the common name of UVA athletic teams, a title of a local newspaper, a name of a local PC distributor etc.

Less known but still very popular, an alternate nickname is Wahoo [wu:'hu:]. The official story says that it is a moniker of the athletic teams based on the University's rallying cry "Wah-hoo-wah U-V-A!". Wikipedia says:

The yell was invented as an Indian yell for Dartmouth College by Dartmouth
student Daniel Rollins in 1878. Corks & Curls, the University of Virginia
annual, regularly printed lists of the yells and colors of the various colleges;
in 1888 it included Dartmouth's school yell, a part of which was the phrase
"wah-hoo-wah." University of Virginia students soon incorporated the phrase
"wah-hoo-wah" into their own, longer school yell, and individual U.Va.
fraternities also adopted it and modified it. (It was common for "student
culture" to travel: the University of Illinois also adopted "wah-hoo-wah," and
the tune of the Yale "Boola Boola", for example, became the basis of the
"Boomer-Sooner" song of the University of Oklahoma.) (Dartmouth students,
meanwhile, largely stopped using the Indian yell during the 1980s along with the
accompanying Indian mascots, symbols, and nickname.)

The yell was already in use by the time Natalie Floyd Otey performed at the
Levy Opera House in Charlottesville on January 30, 1893. She sang a song
specifically about the town and University titled "Wah-Hoo-Wah" that began, "Oh,
Charlottesville, illustrious name,/ The home of Jefferson you claim;/ The lap of
learning, font of fame—" and was set to the tune of "Ta-rara-boom-de-ay," with
the catchy chorus sung as "Wah-hoo-wah you-vee-ay." Otey's song was popular
enough with students that Corks & Curls printed it in 1894.

However, there is another story, popular mostly among students, explaining the origin of this nick. It says that UVA students were associated with a wahoo fish - the one known for its ability to drink amounts of water twice its weight without drowning in order to puff itself up for a fight. The parallel is obvious ;D

The Wahoo is a scombrid fish, the largest of mackerels. It is large, up to 70-90 kg, one among the fastest pelagic (oceanic) species, reaching speeds up to 60 mph.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Life After

A short list of things an international student has to do to prepare him/herself for transition to a business school:

1. If requested by a school, fill in a Request for I-20 based on confirmed options of financing your first year: combine the amount of your scholarships with your loan and supplement it with your personal savings to get the budget stated by your school.
- Do I have to send a request by courier mail?
My request was accepted by email.
- Do I have to show some personal savings to compliment my financing options if my scholarships + a loan exceed the budget set by my school?
I showed no personal savings in my request.

2. Upon receipt of I-20, apply online and pay the SEVIS fee ($100).
- I filled in the form online, but was forwarded to the original page with rules; am I registered or what and where are the payment options?
Fill in the form quickly. No joke here. I don't mean that you have to moist your fingers in haste to complete it in 30 seconds, but if you leave the page for a while, when you return and finalize it, it will not be registered. When you fill in the form successfully, you are forwarded to a payment options page where you can, for example, submit the fee by a credit card.

3. When you get your SEVIS fee payment confirmation, fill in a visa application online on

4. Make a photo for your visa application in exact accordance with requirements set by US consulate in your country. US consulate's requirements may be significantly different from what you may be accustomed with in other consulates, such as in Schengen countries.

5. Submit your visa application. The application package includes the application form you filled in online, with an assigned barcode, a form DS-158 for application for F-1, your original I-20, confirmation of SEVIS fee payment and a photo. The application package may include, per requirements set by your country: financial documents proving the means of financing your first year at school (scholarship notifications, a loan promissory note, banking statements, credit card receipts, your salary reference from a current employer, tax declaration etc.) and documents that attach a heavy weight to your stated intention to return to your home country upon completion of studies (real estate possessions etc.).
- Do I really have to collect and submit all these documentation?
Strictly speaking, it is not obligatory. Read between the lines on the website of the consulate in your country and research experience of other students from your country who went through visa application process before you. Don't overanalyze. I will report on my own experience in late June.
- Is it quick? Do I have to attend to an interview with a consulate official?
There is a waiting period between submission of your documents, an interview (which may be obligatory for each and every applicant in your country, as it is in Russia) and getting your passport stamped. In Russia, for example, the standard waiting period at the moment is 21 calendar days.
- Uggh, the waiting is so long, can I, like, submit the papers and go for a vacation before I am invited for an interview?
You will hand your passport over to the consulate for the whole waiting period plus 2-5 extra days required for stamping the visa; during this period you will not be able to travel outside your country. Schedule the application process accordingly.

6. Check if your school requires you to submit a medical reference before or upon arrival. The processing of such reference may be a bit of a fuss and will mostly likely include a blood test; also, in some cases you may have to make certain immunizations and tuberculosis screening (chest X-ray).

7. Credit cards: ensure that you will have access to your money upon arrival to USA. Some international Visa cards issued locally are not truly international; in good scenario, they will be operational in ATMs, but will not work in stores, restaurants and hotels; in bad cases you won't be able to withdraw any cash at all.
Bank accounts: if you want to move your account from a local bank to an American, or plan to receive a large transfer to an account you will open in USA, note that bank transfers from abroad undergo an additional verification, and it may take a long before you will be able to lay your hand on your money.

8. Schoolbooks: a lot of your future classmates will ask in your school's forum which schoolbooks are a must have. The three reasons to forget about buying the books before you arrive (imho):
a) They are heavy. You don't want to air freight books.
b) If you need them in an American business school, you will most likely find them in an American-based bookstore online. Why pay for international delivery to Moscow or Mumbai when you can have them brought to your door next day by a courier when you are in Philly, NY, Chicago etc.
c) You can have the books second-handed from students of previous years.

9. Notebook: to the opposite, even if your school suggests buying a preselected notebook upon arrival, you may find it rational to purchase one before you depart.
First, the cons:
a) If you own a notebook, it is almost inevitable that your school will ask you to bring it to tech department for appropriate setup (probably, chargeable)
b) You may get it with wrong version of operational system. Remember that you don't want your operational system to be in your local language, unless you want to work as a volunteer translator for the tech team of your school. Be sure that you know the requirements set by your school, i.e. should your Windows/Vista be a Professional version etc. It is truly a trouble to try to change an operational system on a notebook.
c) You will have to buy it on your personal savings, before you may get access to your loan, and the amount might be weighty.
There is actually only one pro, but it is crucial for me:
a) A notebook suggested by your school may not meet your demands. In my case, I really cannot drag all over the place a case that is heavier than 2 kg (4,5 pounds). Add schoolbooks here to feel my pain. Then, I am a gamer (I mean, a Gamer, with capital G). A machine with a video memory of 64 Mb does not exist for me. Intel Graphics Media Accelerator? Stick it in your spare pocket, please. Consider your special needs carefully before you decide whether you want to get the beast suggested by your school or a beauty selected by yourself.

10. While it may be a late advice, consider the difference between your present and future location when you plan your pre-matriculation trips. Hey, you will be on another side of the Globe. At the moment Egypt or Thailand may sound like next door banality to you, but for next two years you may find it difficult to take cross-Atlantic trips in order to get a sunbath somewhere in the Mediterranean, for example.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Feedback session in Wharton

Starting from today, rejected applicants of R1 and R2 in Wharton may request feedback session by phone. Requests will be served on first come - first serve basis. The number is 215-898-6183.

For now, I decided to refrain: the idea is to keep the place in the line vacant for future reapplicants.

Update: all slots were occupied during first 2,5 hours of work of the phone line.

A word of consolation to those applicants who did not make it in time to secure a feedback session: just don't overconcentrate on this issue. Research blogs of current students who were reapplicants, see what they write about feedback information. You will see that no feedback session would give you a clear answer Why you failed to win the place. They won't tell you: there were too many typos in your "What matters". They won't tell you: your interviewer didn't happen to like your orange tie. What will happen is that they will give you bare and banal information: lack of a prerequisite quality, unclear goals, dull essays etc. There is no guarantee that you will have enough time and room till the next year to fill in the gaps, if any - you won't get broad international experience in next 6 months if you have none at the moment, but anyway - aren't you going to improve before your next application? You are, and you will be better no matter whether you got this feedback call from a school or not. Be yourself. In so many cases, feedback information pushes people to pad their applications with not-so-real details designed specifically to meet the expectations of a school. You don't want to go this road, are you? If you arranged a session, absorb every bit of information you will get (but again, don't overanalyze it). If you did not - don't be sorry. Live your life.

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