Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Second Offer

I got my second offer from RPI. Now it's the time for me to make a decision.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My First Offer

I finally got my first admission from the Syracuse University, PhD in Entrepreneurship. Thank God.

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Trip of 2 On-site Interviews in The US - Part II

I droped by the school S after conducting the on-site interviews with school R. I received an email invitation during the interviews with school F two weeks ago.

The interview was conducted by 5 professors in the meeting room. The questions they asked were very diffirent from those asked at school R. The director of the PhD program asked some tough questions in the beginning, such as what data should be collected if I would like to measure a company's performance. After I squeezed a rough answer, he asked "ok, what else?" Well, I totally had no idea this time. Then he said, "how about tax?" I nodded, and the 5 professors began to discuss on this blah blah a seminar began. Honestly, I learned a lot from their discussion and enjoyed listening to their conversations, but this interview was really a tough one to me, especially as an international applicant.

The professor told me that they had received 14 applicants this year and planed to take in 2 while interviewing 4. Great, I have a chance of 1/2. When asked about my motivation to be a professor, I said that I liked the academia life. Then I was interupted by the professor, "life? There is no life in the academia. Look at Professor XXX. He doesn't even have a wife!" OMG! Professor XXX looked like over 55 already.

After the interview, I was also invited to talk with the current doctoral students. No lunch invitation.

The financial aid provided is very generous, compared to other schools I am applying to. The professor is very famous in this field and seems very strict. I am quite sure that I can get a very good placement if I graduate from this school. The question is not whether I can get admitted, but whether I can graduate.

My Trip of 2 On-site Interviews in The US - Part I

Having not heard of anything form the school phone-interviewing me two weeks ago, I begin to wonder whether I have been waitlisted or rejected already. I expected to receive an admission from school F and some rejections after I returned from the US two days ago but heard of nothing.

Anyway, speak about my trip to the US for the two on-site interviews. I have been in contact wih a professor, who asked me for an on-site visit, at school R for 6 months. I finanlly made the trip last week. I was interviewed by 4 professors separately, including the director of the PhD program, who mentioned that there are 28 applicants this year competing for 5-6 admissions and that 7 of them have conducted or are conducting on-site interviews. Luckily, I am one of them. I also asked about what qualifications the school is looking for in its doctoral students. The professor said that he would not allow this on-site interview if I am not qualified for entering the program.

He also asked several tricky questions, such as am I visiting the US only for the interview and why did I choose to switch to the academia as I am more like a businessman.

During the break of the interviews, I was invited to have a lunch with current doctoral students, speaking about the PhD life, the placement, the financial aids, and, of course, the professors. The lunch was on the department.

After I got home two days ago, I wrote thank-you letters to the professors separately and got a reply from the one I would like to work with. He said that I met all the requirements that he would like to see in the doctoral students and that there should be someone from the department in touch with me shortly. I take this as a positive sign but wouldn't like to expect too much for I haven't heard of anything from the professor at school F, who said the similar thing to me two weeks ago.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Second Interview Completed

這是F學校約好的第二次面試,上次打來的是我想跟的那位教授,這次打來的是Admissions Committee的人。


這次的問題比上次多了很多,我幾乎招架不住,主談的是一位印度教授,有點口音,但不是很重,他問了許多問題,其中幾個我稍微"I am sorry"了一下,兩回後他就問其他兩位教授願不願意接替他來主談(不曉得會不會被減分)。下面是我記得的問題。

- Why this school?

- What's your research interest?

- What motivates you to pursue this line of research?
motivation問了兩次,第一次是開頭時問的,我說我的過去經驗使我想要去念這一方面的東西blah blah講了一堆,過了幾題後,另一個教授又說想要多了解我的motivation,我當場傻了,不是該講的都講了嗎?怎麼又問,愣了半天,只好硬著頭皮說: As I just mentioned, my past work experiences motivate me to ....; besides, I am chasing a life style,因為工作這些年下來我發現自己比較喜歡學術生活呀,我可以做自己想要的研究,並找尋一些問題的答案,我喜歡這樣的lifestyle...

- What's your decision factors if you get admitted to more than 2 schools
我又blah blah 的講了一堆,說你們的學校在大城市,比較溫暖,很好呀,又說faculty interest如何如何,大概一個教授聽不下去了,就叫我舉三個decision factor,我說location, financial aid, 跟faculty research interests

- Whom do you want to work with at this school?

- Does your quatitative ability more strong than English writing ability?

- Career goal

- Any preference school that you wanna work at after you earn a PhD?

- Reference letters
他先問我認不認識我以前學校商學院的某幾位教授,我說我聽過名字,但不認識,他又問我的reference letter誰寫的,我說了名字,他似乎不認識,就問是在哪個院的,我說是computer science,他說看我能不能再找些美國教授的推荐信給他們寄過去...

- Any papers you have read
我說我看了關於XXX, OOO, VVV 方面的papers, 很有趣啦,他還不死心,繼續追問,要我多講一些,好讓他們了解我是如何準備攻讀這個專業的,我只好瞎扯,說我除了看了你們學校那位教授的文章外,還看了C學校教授的文章,對XXX方面很有興趣,又看了R學校教授的文章,對OOO方面很有興趣(本來不想講的,因為C校和R校的這個專業都比F校好),說我申請的學校都是我想要的學校,也是因為先看了這些學校教授的文章後,覺得有興趣,才申請的。他終於就沒在追問下去了

- How did you find the school?
我說美國提供這樣專業的學校很少,我上各大學的網站一所一所找,找了至少兩百多所吧,好不容易找到他們學校,就發 email 給 chair, 那chair寄了papers給我,我看了看,覺得挺有趣的,就決定申請他們學校了。

- Research experience

- Any research topics are you interested?

- Did you find any interesting questions you want to study?

- What kind of Math background do I have?
我說我有修過Calculus, Metrices & Vectors, and Applied Mathmatics, including diferential equations nad probability

- Did you take any courses related to statistics?

- Did you take any MBA courses related to strategy?

- Your second Mater's degree is more about management or technology?

- Any programming languages skills? Like Excel(我懷疑自己是不是聽錯了,Excel可以當作programming language? 還是Access? 但 Access是database,應該也不算吧) and Visual Basic?
我說我會C++和Java,掛電話才想到可以多講一些,說像是Visual Basic不是問題等等

整個 interview 沒聽到什麼 positive 的話,每次回答完,教授就說ok, 然後下一題,讓我愈講愈沒信心。整個interview時間大約30分鐘。令我比較訝異的是最後一位教授說他有一個comment給我,說他們沒有我大學和研究所的成績單,要我趕快準備,並且先把複本傳真給他們,我又傻了,搞了半天,原來剛剛interview的過程以及之前的聯繫我的教授都沒看過我的成績單!我不曉得該哭還是該笑,於是說我記得我將成績單放在同一個包裹中寄給他們了,要是他們沒收到的話,我再寄一份給他們。


Monday, February 12, 2007

The Second Interview

After completing the first interview last week, I got an email from the admissions committee asking for the second interview tonight. The professor who called me last week said that the admissions committee may ask me the same questions. I believe that the first interview is for screening purpose and that the second interview has something to do with the decision. I hope that I can get my first offer soon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

First Interview Completed


1. Your research interest
2. Why this school
3. What's your career goal after you earn a PhD
4. Your previous research experience
5. Do you have any preference about job location after you earn a PhD?

我回答第二个问题时没回答好,我说”I think your school is resourceful…” 还没说完教授就把我打断,说他不觉得这个学校的这个专业很resourceful,只是因为他本身有这个兴趣,所以他个人尽可能地提供各式各样的协助给PhD students….我心凉了一半,心想肯定没戏了。不过他没继续就这问题追问下去,开始往下问。

第四个问题问我有没有research experience,我说我有,但是那是science field,他要我叙述一下,我说就在实验室做实验,帮教授准备data,并指导研究生,他问我做什么实验,我说我的field是在超导体,做了大量的实验,他就说我对 science 一定很了解,然后接着问第五个问题。

我说我目前没有特别的preference,只要能让我继续做我有兴趣的研究anywhere and anytime,and as long as I have a good idea…他听了之后说It’s a good answer(这是整个interview中我唯一听到他positive的话),又说他们学校是research oriented,有些applicant希望毕业后能教书,但对他们来说,做research是比较重要的,也希望敎出来PhD学生能有solid publishing.

他花了很长时间介绍他们学校,说虽然学校已经一百年啦,但最近十年才有商学院PhD课程,非常新,所以在学术界还没么名气,比不上”brand name schools”。但他们非常注重学生质量,为了跟brand name schools竞争,他们会非常严厉的要求PhD学生产出许多papers,因为毕业后找工作时,名牌大学的毕业生因为名牌的关系,所以不大需要担心,但其它学校的毕业生必须靠publishing及参加conference来积累实力及名声,因为你的publishing多的话,找工作时人家就不会注意你是从哪个学校来的,讲到这里他自己又笑了起来,我都不知道该说什么好。

他又说因为必须出版很多论文的缘故,他们学校特别注重学生的English writing,他说从我写给他的email看来,我的英文应该没问题,我的writing sample也ok,虽然quantitative也很重要,但是比起writing,quantitative还是次要的。

最后我问了”May I ask about my chance of being admitted to your program?” 他又笑,说我可以问,但是他不好回答,说我应该在他们申请者的top30%,学校最后应该会录取10%,他因为手边没有我的资料,不知道我是否在top10%,虽然我的application应该是toward positive,但还必需和其它faculty讨论才知道,又说”I am not comfortable to comment…”

这所学校不是那么知名,但跟他聊过后我还挺想进的。不过整个interview中没听到什么positive的字眼,加上今早又收到一封另一所学校寄来的怪怪email,一边要求我interview,一边又说我是”remaining candidates…”,心情极差,还要写thank you letter…

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1st Interview

I got an email from another professor at School F after I replied yesterday. He would like to "discuss my research interest in more detail." I take it as my 1st phone interview and am a bit nervous and excited about it.


Progress of School C

The professor I have been in contact with asked me for my resume and PS last week. I supposed that he had not reviewed my application, that he had not been on the admissions committee, or that the committee review had not started yet.

After I emailed him the documents, he replied to me, "I sent an email to the head of the PhD program speaking about our correspondence, saying that you were a very strong candidate and that the timing was good. I should have a chance to talk with him before any decision."

A couple of hours later, he sent another email to me, "It would make sense for us to have a conversation on the phone at some point. My home phone is XXXXXXXXX...."

I took his letters as a positive sign but tried not to be over-optimistic. After all, the official decision is made by the admissions committee rather than a single professor.

Progress of School F

I got an email from a professor on the admissions committee. He would like to know the progress of my application to other schools and my interest in the school's program relative to others before the admissions committee makes a "short list" in one or two weeks. I guess that I am already on its "short list." The school is not very famous and renowned by many applicants, and the field I am applying to is not open to application every year. To sum up, I think that my chance of getting into this school is high. After I replied to the professor, he emailed me again, saying that he will contact me again after the admissions committee reconvenes.

Well, I hope that these signs will bring me luck and do get me into these schools, not a dream.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I got an email yesterday from a secretary at the PhD program that granted me an on-campus interview. She is arranging the meetings with the professor who asked me for the interview and two co-Directors of the PhD program. She mentioned that the Senior Associate Dean of Enrollment Management would also like to meet me. I am not surprised at the meeting with the two co-Directors, but I am wondering why meeting with the staff at Enrollment Management. Does this sound sort of like meeting with HR in addition to the future supervisor during a job interview? this reminds me of my job hunting and interviews in the US six years ago.

I will meet another professor I am in touch with the first thing in the morning that day. She is the instructor of my friend who just got his PhD last fall. She has reviewed my PS and CV and gave me a very positive comment. I hope she will give me some advice and even tips about the interview.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Mistakes I Have Made in My Applications

I made many mistakes in my applications. This article is to summarize them.

Schools at level A:
University W: Application completed
University B: Application completed
University G: Advised by the professor to retake GMAT, but I didn't do so.

Schools at level B:
University R: A minor mistake in the PS; TOEFL is required, which I have scheduled to take in April. Not sure if the school is willing to wait for my score.
University S: Application completed
University C: Informed by the school that the evaluation forms, which I had not attached to my referees, along with the recommendation letters are required.

Schools at level C:
University F: The school's name was misplaced on the recommendation letter for the other school.
University I: Application completed
University D: Application completed

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Timeline of My Application

-Began to prepare GMAT

-GMAT, 1st take, 600, terrible

-Began to review and prepare GMAT

-GMAT, 2nd take, 580, horrible

-Continued to review and prepare GMAT

-GMAT, 3rd take, 690, unexpected and accetable
-Began to contact recommenders, collect transcripts, and draft PS.

-Got permissions from 3 recommenders.
-PS ready.

-Email touting started.
-Read papers

-Submitted the online applications.
-Asked by Professor C to arrange a campus visit in early 2007.
-The luggage including the recommendation letters from the Professor S in the US was lost by the airline.
-Professor S agreed to send a copy to me again.
-The luggage was found and arrived.
-Request GMAT to be sent to the schools.

-Sent out all the application packages.

-Joined an online chat with the Graduate Admissions at one of the schools that I am applying to and confirmed that the school, the only one, requires that I submit TOEFL.
-Got an email from a Canadian school, asking me whether I can ask my recommenders to send the letters again along with the evaluation forms, which I didn't include into my application package.
-Got an email reply from Professor K at one of the US schools, which I want to get in most, as a late Christmas gift.