Saturday, July 16, 2005

Waiting to get to NYC

I got my stamped visa on June 14, and while it was heartening to see my fourth US visa stamp, I was kind of puzzled to see my First Name spelled as "FNU" and the Last Name slot bearing my complete name. Looked like an irritating goof up by the consulate folks and one which I'd certainly have preferred to do without. On calling up the consulate the following day, I was told that FNU stands for "First Name Unknown", and it's that way due to recently introduced stringent rules accoding to which names on the visa must exactly match those on the passport. As I discovered, my passport actually doesn't mention my first name, and list down my full name as my surname! Anyway, looks like things should be ok the way they stand

The rest of June was spent selling off all the furniture I'd accumulated over the last 5 years in the city I'd been working. Somehow managed to sell off all the big ticket items and sent off the remaining stuff (22 cartons!!) through the movers on the penultimate day. Closing bank accounts, phone connection, relieving formalities at work, farewell dinners - everything took time. Finally left the city for good on July 10. I'll be spending the last few days with my parents before leaving for NYC on Aug 7. I can hardly wait!

I also sent over the registration papers to Stern before the July 15 deadline. My 40k loan is also approved so no money to be sent for the time being. I'm planning to try and waive out of the core Statistics course. Will also keep waiving the Operations course as a stretch goal. Tests for waivers happen twice - in August and October - and I need to get rid of at least Stats in August.

But before I start preparing for the planned waivers, I want to complete the prework that Stern sent. There is study material and there are mandatory online tests in which I need to score at least 80%. I'm done with 4 of the 5 tests but the last one remains. The first test on quantative skills was the easy one; the rest are on accounting and need self-study of the material.

I sent in my deposit for a shared 2-bedroom at the Palladium (the on-campus housing option), but was placed #1 on the waitlist. July 15 was the last day of withdrawals, but noone had withdrawn till early afternoon on July 15. However, single studios were still available, and I decided to block one for myself. A single studio is for $1600/month but I'm excited about the collegial atmosphere and getting into the thick of things right away (no househunting and furniture-shopping etc). The cost is also pretty reasonable for the location and amenities. A bit of research into the Palladium showed that there are just 12 slots for shared 2-bedrooms compared to 102 single studios for Stern students. Studios include a twin bed, table, chair, desk, dresser, phone, cable tv connection, internet connection, microwave, cooktop, fridge, sink, bathroom. There also some common dining facility which I guess I can use when I'm not in a mood to cook or go out.

Yesterday I did a whole lot of shopping. Bought some woolens, toileteries, shirts, jeans. Also ordered for a suit to be stitched.

I'll be flying British Airways on Aug 7

Still need to get myself inoculated as per NYU guidelines...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Visa Interview

It has felt nice to be asked by many people about how my visa interview went. I've been basking in the feeling of relief since it happened, and have felt too lazy to post the details. To get to the point, we got it, both of us. The actual interview was over in maybe 5 minutes, and made up for the excruciating wait in the horrible Chennai weather. We haven't actually got the passports with the stamped visa in our hands due to a rule according to which the visa cannot be stamped more than 90 days in advance of the start of classes. Our passports have, however, been retained, and we've been told that we should get the stamped passports around June 10. I'm rejoicing based on my trust of people with past experience in similar situations - by all accounts, passports are retained only when they need to be stamped.

My takeaway from the experience was that if you have an admit from a top school, and have a normal job and education, then you'll get the visa. Don't let that prevent you from doing all the due diligence with the paperwork, though.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I20, Visa application, etc

I received my I20 documents in 3 weeks from the time I faxed in the application to NYU.

However, getting our passports back with all the updations done was more of an adventure for my wife and I. Coincidentally, both the I20 and passport updation processes were initiated on April 13. All that our passports needed was inclusion of spouse names and ECNR status (also change of maiden name and renewal to normal validity duration for my wife). Since our address had changed since the passport issuals, a police verification of our current address was deemed neccessary. We were told that we'd have our updated passports back in 15-20 days.

The police personnel visited our place on April 23 for address verification. Due to some miscommunication, he was not given the address proofs that I had religiously submitted at the passport office. We were asked to again submit photographs, along with copies of our marriage certificates, degrees, and proof that we had been living in this place for a year (for which I had to fish out BSNL phone bills dated a year ago). Anyway, the police officer seemed happy with all the documents and the Rs. 300 he asked for as a favor to expedite the process.

I started getting panicky by May 6. The web-based status tracking system showed the status of our applications "in process", but that's what it had been showing since submission. A call to the passport office advised that the police verification report had not been received by the office as yet. So much for the favors promised by the verification officer! A visit to the local police station showed that my file had been approved and forwarded to the Police Commissionor's Office, from where it should go to the passport office. A call to the Police Commissionor's Office advised that I come over in person. They're probably too high and mighty to deal with mere mortals! Well, some grappling with the horrible traffice and one-ways finally took me to the Police Commissionor's Office on May 9. After being routed this way and that 6 times, I was told that my file had been sent to the passport office that very day. I called the passport office and they confirmed the same. They also told me that it'd take another 10 days for me to get the passports back.

Well, then began the last stretch of the Grand Struggle. In order to expedite processing of my passport, I was asked to come over to the passport office at the enquiry counter with a proof of urgency. I did the same the following morning, and after waiting in the traditionally horrible queue and taking half the day off from work, I was told to get photographs of the applicants! Gosh, that really blew my fuse!! On telling the person at the counter that I was not advised about the photographs by the lady who answered my call, I was told to go fire the lady! Well, there didn't seem much wisdom in fighting the system at the moment, so I complied. Next morning, both my wife and I endured the horrible queue once again, though we came with our photographs this time round. To date I don't know what became of those photographs, but we were finally given an audience with the Assistant Passport Officer, who promised us the passports on May 13 provided we arrived in person between 4:30PM - 6PM.

The big day finally arrived and while it was a bit disappointing to again endure a queue (though only for an hour) to receive the passport, we finally did it.

I'm now filling and collating the various visa-related documents, praying for a quick one on May 20.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Stern it is

I've been superstitious after the Kellogg ding. I've had illusions of adcoms tracking my blog and issuing me dings one after another based on my utterances. Hence, I decided to stay away for some time inspite of important admissions-related events happening in my life.

Chicago was a ding as well, but I finally heard back from Stern on the interview date. March 15 it was, a day before my surgery to correct a deviated nasal septum. The interview was pretty short and sweet at Taj, Bombay. The decision, I was told, would come in 2-3 weeks.

While I was waiting for the Stern decision, the HBS and MIT dings happened as expected. Soon thereafter, though, I got the Stern admit.

After lots of nerve-racking research, talking to students and industry insiders, I've decided that I want to throw my hat for banking. Stern is hence a natural choice.

It's going to be difficult without a scholarship, and with the higher cost of living. This is going to be my biggest gamble in life, and I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Nope

I did get my early decision from Kellogg as expected. What was not quite as expected was that it would be part of the first batch of R2 dings on Friday evening. Oh well, perhaps I was destined for an Ivy League!

Chicago is now the last realistic hope to break into the top 5. March 18 is the decision deadline so it can't be too long before I know for sure. My brother resent the check and this time he has tracked it to have reached the destination.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Any time now

Kellogg started releasing its decisions 2 days ago. Around 5 people have posted admits on BW Forums in the last couple of days. I'm hoping for an early decision since I submitted the application 9 days in advance of the deadline and completed my interview a couple of weeks prior to that. No news so far but I'm dying for an admit to reach the top of the world. Or at least the BW rankings!

Friday, February 18, 2005

I'm bored

Wife is not home, and after watching 3 movies and reading a book over the past weekend, I'm hopelessly out of ideas to kill time. Perhaps it's best to get absorbed at work despite the obvious lack of motivation. Reading the BW Forums is also getting boring now

On another note, Wharton decided to ding me. I had resisted reviewing my application so far, but couldn't resist it any longer after the ding. A quick glance indicated that I hadn't written "Kellogg" instead of "Wharton". Well, enough of dings, I need a quick accept from one of the Chicago-based schools. It's long since I had a high, and I've slogged way too hard not to get it again