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Umer last won the day on July 30 2015

Umer had the most liked content!

About Umer

  • Rank
  • Birthday July 25

Education Profile

  • Application Status
  • Degree Achieved 1
    Masters in Public Policy & Management,
    Carnegie Mellon University
  • Degree Achieved 2
    BSc.(Hons) in Social Sciences,
    LUMS, Pakistan
  • Nationality

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    Lahore University Of Management Sciences
  1. A sort of sneaky tactic used by most ISPs is that they provide you the option to have them install the internet service for you. As an unsuspecting student who has just moved into the apartment you might be unsure about what do choose here and most students would have the service provider representative come over and do the install for you. However, this would typically run you an added $100 in site visit on top of your monthly payment. The ISP if asked would always advise to have the service installed professionally since they claim that they do not know if the apartment / building is pre wired for internet. However, almost all housing around the university has been utilized by students in the past and there is hardly anyone who goes without internet so it is highly likely that your apartment is prewired. You can also physically check to see that there are wall outlets already available to hook up your modem. The install basically includes the service rep coming over and plugging the wire from the wall outlet into the modem. It is an unnecessary cost that can easily save you a $100 or more
  2. Most people might not be aware that once enrolled your .edu email account gives you access to a range of discounts. Most businesses in the US recognize students and offer discounted products and services, some that you will be using quite frequently. Here are a few to get you started: Amazon.com Amazon offers their prime membership to students. To start off you get a 6-month trial and if you decide to continue you get the prime membership at 50% off. A student Prime membership includes Free Two-Day Shipping on over 50 million items, unlimited streaming of Prime movies and TV shows, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos, 20% off pre-order and new release video games BestBuy.com BestBuy is another large retailer that will allow students to receive discounts on laptops / tablets and other electronics. Their deals are regularly updated and will offer you a greater discount over already marked down prices. This is great if you are looking for a new laptop to start off the school year Apple.com Typically education discounts at Apple range from $100 off on laptops / desktops and $50 off on tablets and phones. If you are looking to buy an Apple product during July / August you can make use of additional campaigns such as "Back to school" which offer added discounts such as iTunes store credit or free beats headphones Adobe Adobe products are heavily discounted for students, as much as 60% off. It is a great way to get your hands on Photoshop and other Adobe productivity suite softwares AMC Theaters You can watch movies at 20% off at AMC theaters with your Student ID. AMC runs this discount price for students every Thursday Banana Republic Banana Republic offers an Education Discount with a valid ID, of 15% off full-priced items.
  3. Be sure to complete your user profile by adding in degree information, nationality and area of interest. This helps us get an understanding of your background and guide you better.
  4. Generally MBA programs charge an application fee ranging from $200 - $300 per candidate. However sometimes prospective students can receive waivers. This is not an exhaustive list of methods to receive a waiver but here is what is known: Attend an online session or on campus event Indicate that you are related to an Alumna/Alumni at the school You have attended the school in the past
  5. List of essay questions for class 2022: Essay Question 1: The 'Team Fuqua' spirit and community is one of the things that sets the MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. Please share with us “25 Random Things” about you. These '25 Random Things' help us get to know someone's personality, their background, special talents, and more. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know YOU - beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may only be a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages, with a font size no less than 10-point. Do not copy the essay question in the document you upload with your application. 2 pages, 10pt font minimum) Essay Question 2: Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom? Your response to this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length, with a font size no less than 10-point and 1.5 line spacing. Do not copy the essay question in the document you upload with your application. No more than 2 pages in length, with a font size no less than 10-point and 1.5 line spacing.) Short Essay Question 1: Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you? (500 Characters) Short Essay Question 2: What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (500 Characters)
  6. Essay questions for class of 2022: Essay Question 1: Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? * (300 Words) Essay Question 2: Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 Words) Essay Question 3: Tuck students invest generously in one another’s success even when it is not convenient or easy. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (300 Words) Short Essay Question 1: Share your short term goals. (50 Words) Short Essay Question 2: Share your long term goals. (50 Words) Optional Essay Question: Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of evaluators, factors affecting academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application. (300 Words)
  7. Here is a list of essay questions for class of 2022: Essay Question 1: What are your short and long-term career goals? How will the MBA help you achieve them? (500 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font) Essay Question 2: Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using six images and corresponding captions. Your uploaded PDF should contain all of the following elements: A brief introduction or overview of your "Pick Six" (no more than 3 sentences). Six images that help illustrate who you are. A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you. Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you. Your document must be uploaded as a single PDF. The essay cannot be sent in physical form or be linked to a website. Optional Essay Question: Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, EA, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information. (250 word maximum, double-spaced, 12-point font)
  8. Buses are going to be your number one source for travel within the US as they are usually the most budget friendly way to unleash the explorer within you. There are quite a few renowned companies that are widely used and have a large service area but I think two of the most widely used ones are GreyHound and MegaBus. Personally, I prefer MegaBus since I like their double-decker buses better and the overall experience but GreyHound at times can be better. Plus GreyHound has a larger service area and if you thinking about going far like 9+ hours, they might be the only option. It is also perhaps the most convenient way if you are traveling with luggage as you can bring a carry-on bag for free plus a check-in bag weighing 22.6kgs / 50lbs and should not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height). MegaBus would not not let you carry more than one checked-in bag whereas Greyhound allows you to take another bag by paying extra. This is very handy if you are taking a bus to catch an international flight later and have two big bags. Generally, prices for MegaBus fluctuate a lot more depending on time. If you book early a ticket can just cost you $1 during regular days and start going North of $50 as seats start getting reserved. GreyHound is usually has a pretty much fixed ticket price unless you use student discounts or coupons. Again, traveling during vacations or official holidays is expensive as all transport companies are poised to take advantage of demand. Some other bus services to consider if neither of the aforementioned services work for you: Bolt Bus Peter Pan Lux Bus Vamoose RedCoach Tripper Bus Coach USA Goto Bus
  9. Umer

    Domestic Flights

    I would advise everyone to have state ID as one of the todo items on their list when you arrive in the US. If you haven't already, read Why you must get a state ID. A state ID makes local travel much more convenient and saves you from carrying your passport everywhere. Losing your passport can get you into a great deal of trouble and unnecessary inconvenience. That said, there are a plethora of websites out there that let you compare and reserve flights for your domestic as well as international travel. I would always recommend to check multiple sources to get the most competitive prices. A few general tips that might help you: Always plan and book ahead of time If you are getting a particular price don't wait as it would most probably be higher the next day If possible try searching with flexible dates (~3days) as sometimes flying on Monday instead of Sunday can save you a lot of money For local flights always try to travel as light as possible. Almost all flights charge you additional for extra bags Be sure to print your boarding passes ahead of time to avoid long lines at the airport A few good websites for comparison: Kayak Priceline Google Flights Student Universe Travelocity Expedia Cheapoair Also try checking if Spirit Airlines offers service in your area. I have found them to be a great way to travel since they are usually offering the most cheapest rates by a big margin. The catch with them is that they will charge you extra for almost everything. For example, printing boarding pass at the airport: $10. Checking in a bag at the airport $100 (Early check-in $40) plus not complimentary food or drink during the flight. That aside, if you are a student on a budget Spirit is the way to go. Pack your backpack, grab a water bottle and stuff to eat and you are good to go! (Yes you can bring outside food! and fill your water bottle after you pass security).
  10. raveling can always be cumbersome as a student when you do not have access to a car. Simply put, getting weekly or monthly groceries can be a pain if you have to carry them a couple of blocks to your apartment. Here a few tips / services that might help you save time and effort: Uber: While the first and foremost thought would be a conventional taxi, I have found Uber to be very timely and reliable for getting to your destination quickly. It can save you a lot of trouble getting to a scheduled interview, meeting or movie. Since Uber does not charge you additional for people, you can take an Uber with friends and split the costs. I wouldn't recommend solely relying on Uber because firstly it gets linked to your Paypal account and you don't realize how much you have spent on it unless you see your end of the month bank statement. Use it occasionally for pressing matters instead of taking a ride to school when you are getting late. You do however need to keep in mind that at certain times when demand is very high, such as rush hours or during events in your area, Uber jacks up their rates and it can cost you 2x to 3x over their normal rates. Basically before ordering a ride Uber will prompt you to accept a higher rate. Lyft: If that is the case and you really need a ride, I would recommend trying out Lyft. Lyft is a similar service and provides for a good alternate when Uber is not working. They are supplementary services so you can use whichever you like. That said, I would recommend signing up for both since you get free rides on account creation and more as you refer friends. Local Cab: Lastly, you can try the cab service in your area for a ride. The reason I have put them last is because in Pittsburgh at least the service is really unreliable and they might end up not showing at all which trust me is very agonizing. Super Shuttle (Airport Only): If you need to go to the airport you can either take the local bus or metro, but if you are short on time or have luggage that is not easily maneuverable (for example 2 big suitcases) you should definitely consider Super Shuttle. Super Shuttle is a service designed specifically to transport passenger to and from the airport and they are very professional and reliable. You put in your flight type (Local/International) and corresponding time and get a list of convenient pickup times based on the input. Plus if there is more than one person to pickup at one address, they charge a lower rate for the additional passengers.
  11. The first thing you would want to have setup as soon as you move into an apartment is Internet access. It's hard to live without email, Facebook, 9gag or whatever you waste your time on! Just kidding Choosing An Internet Service Provider (ISP): In all seriousness, internet is important as you wouldn't want to miss out on emails from school or remain out of touch with your worried parents / significant others as you settle in. Now from my experience, if you are lucky you might have 2 or more ISPs to choose from: Comcast or Verizon FiOS are the most common ones. In my area I just had Comcast so I had to stick with them. I therefore cannot comment on experiencing Verizon's support and service but they are very competitive and you can always switch to receive a better rate. Ideally I would (sadly) go Comcast for a year and then Verizon if it was an option. So as a rule of thumb, always compare services and see what rates are they offering to new customers. Usually for Comcast, there is a first year introductory special capped at $39.99 for 15-20mpbs connection, which jumps to $54.99 for the second year and continues to $64.99 from there on. Setting up Service (Experience / Tips): Setting up service was a real pain. I expected everything to go smoothly as with other services such as gas, electricity etc but Comcast is a tricky player. I am pretty sure 99% of the incoming foreign students get caught up paying extra because they are not aware of the fine-print items, which is perfectly normal since there 100 other things to worry about rather than such trivialities. For Starters, always select self-install. Most likely you would be renting an apartment which has had housed similar students before you, therefore no extra wiring needs to be done and all connections are already setup. If you are unsure just ask your property management company / property manager. Not asking my management company myself was a big mistake. I instead asked the support chat representative if I needed to have their technician scheduled for an install or if I could just install the equipment myself? I was told that it would be safe to have the tech come over and perform the install to avoid delays so I happily agreed. To my utter disappointment the tech breezed in plugged the already installed cable into the modem and went on his way and I got charged $100 for having the technician plug in power to the modem. I was however able to argue with support and have the charge waived but that wasted a lot of time and energy. Another frustrating problem that can sometimes come up is SSN. Usually most representatives would be aware that international students do not have an SSN and would handle the signup process but other times they would refuse saying that you need to have a SSN to buy service. If that happens, just tell them that you can pay them the $50 security deposit to begin service. This deposit is usually credited to your account at the end of the first year and used towards your bill. Buying Vs Renting Equipment: With account opening taken care of, you might want to consider buying your equipment outright from the market such as a Comcast approved cable modem, since Comcast will charge you a flat rate of $7/month for equipment charges. You can do some research on what modems are compatible and buy one for something around $80 and sell it once you are finished with school or keep it if you decide to continue using Comcast. However, in the event that you decide to get equipment from Comcast (less stuff to worry about) be sure to ask them to send you their Wifi modem. Since sometimes they would send you a plain jane modem without wifi and you will be stuck with ethernet wires or will have to buy your own wireless modem. Comcast's new wireless modems are very good in terms of signal strength and speed so that wouldn't be a problem. Other Tips: After you begin service be vary of your bill because Comcast has a bad reputation of hiking up your bill without any reason. I would highly recommend saving emails and online correspondence for reference. There are many problems with Comcast and it is not the ideal company to be dealing with but they have monopoly in a lot of places so all you can do is be smart. If you happen to be sharing your apartment with a roommate you could always get your account disconnected and have your roommate signup for service to receive the introductory price offer again. It is a minor inconvenience but can save you about $180. Lastly, always remember that if a particular customer rep is giving you trouble, hang up try again and always be polite because a good attitude can work wonders! I hope this clears up some of the questions you might have and helps you avoid frustration by preparing you for what to expect! If you have any specific questions post below and I'll be happy to help.
  12. First off, Congratulations for making it to CMU! This is a short guide aimed at helping you make an informed decision while hunting for apartments. This guide may not be comprehensive but should serve as a good starting point. So here it goes... The ideal apartment can vary for each individual depending on interests & priorities but for simplicity sake lets assume that distance will play an important part in your decision. So you are looking for a place to stay that is as close to the campus as possible. Why? Because you will be commuting to and from the campus every day and would want to minimize travel times as It allows you to save a lot of time and be flexible when planning class schedules. A closer place would allow you to attend day classes, go home grab a bite / relax and be back for evening classes. Plus you get to enjoy the on campus experience and get involved in activities which you might miss otherwise. Walking distance would be ideal in most cases since it prevents you from being dependent on buses which can be erratic at times. Then there are freezing winters when you don't even want to go out or wait for the bus. Snow makes it especially hard to walk on can cause delays. I would therefore suggest that always look for transportation options when looking at an apartment to avoid putting unnecessary hardship on yourself. Here is a very rough map to provide an overview of bus lines and CMU's own shuttle routes. These are not extremely detailed, hence I would advise you to search on Google maps to see which bus is serving the place you are looking to rent. CMU also provides escort service night which drops students at or very close to their homes in a 1.5 mile radius. This is done particularly for safety at night and is a good resource to use if you are working very late on campus. It is important to note that local buses stop service at 1:30AM and resume at 4:30-5:00AM. The red buildings are places available to rent as of today. You can find the website link near the end of this post. With distance covered, you might want to check out where grocery stores are and places you can go for food. Generally, I haven't found this to be a problem in Pittsburgh as each neighborhood has a good number of shops. For example there are a lot of eateries in the Oakland Area especially Craig Street and Centre Ave. Giant Eagle is accessible easily by bus, so is Target and other stores. ShadySide gives you access to Walnut Street which is again a great place to hangout, eat and have coffee. Then Murray Ave in Squirrel provides you with a ton of options and has convenient bus access. If I were to search for apartments neighborhood wise, I would go North Oakland, ShadySide and Squirrel Hill. Apart from closeness and ease of campus access, most university crowd is settled in these areas therefore there is a high probability your current friends or future friends would be around you, which is a great help at times! I have been advised and would recommend you to steer clear of South Oakland and not go above Center avenue in N. Oakland due to safety concerns. Almost all leases are available for a year therefore be sure to read the complete lease agreement terms as some apartments cannot be sub leased. This would particularly come in handy during summer months as most of you will be interning and might not be in Pittsburgh. You wouldn't want to be stuck paying rent for two places. Secondly, leases generally go up by a few dollars every year and for tenants who decide to renew their lease, the increase is lower than what a new tenant would have to pay. It is therefore beneficial to continue your lease if you have a program longer than one year. This also brings us to the question of switching apartments after one year. Technically you shouldn't have a problem moving but it can be an unnecessary pain. When you arrived in Pittsburgh you might have had 2 bags worth of stuff but after 1 year you would have to take into consideration all the furniture, clothes and other stuff that you would have gathered. If you are coming to study alone you might be contemplating living alone vs sharing accommodation i.e renting a studio, 1BR or 2BR apartment. Generally sharing a 2BR apartment would be much more cost effective than renting a studio or 1BR apartment but it has its pros and cons. This is a question that you need to ask yourself, if you would be comfortable living with someone. Depending on circumstances you might have a good friend joining the same program and such an arrangement works out or sharing in general doesn't bother you. On the other hand you get to deal with an annoying roommate or are not comfortable sharing. I can go on and on about how this might or might not be a good/bad idea but hey, my experience might not be the same as yours and everyone is different. That said, I have had friends who have lived alone in studios, and friends who have shared 1 bedroom apartments by using the living room as a bedroom and so on. While creating your list of prospective apartments always ask for the security deposit requirements. Usually companies require one months advance rent as a security which is then credited during the last month of your lease but a few companies might want two months rent or sometimes three. Some companies wouldn't let you switch people on the lease incase you are sharing and want to switch. Also always read the fine print and see what utilities are included. Usually trash pickup, snow cleaning and water is included in the rent, however facilities such as Internet, Electricity, Heating and Washing are paid and vary from apartment to apartment or company to company. Ideally you would want Heating and Electricity to be included in the rent but are not typically included. Some apartments would have gas heating, gas stoves while some would have electric heating, electric stoves and these would determine your utility usage. For my building Heat was included in the rent as the building was centrally heated but on the downside heat could not be adjusted which wasn't as bad as paying $150-$250 a month during winters on heat (electric) as my friends had to. Interesting to note therefore that utility bills vary seasonally so expect to factor those in. For my apartment we did not have air-conditioning although you can buy small air conditioners from Wal-Mart or Target, my electricity bill never topped $50 during peak months. Companies usually charge tenants for cleaning and damages once you vacate your apartment and the details on such charges will also be listed on the apartment lease. It is always good to know before hand rather than being surprised later on. Some companies would let you off if you vacuum the carpets yourself whilst others would have the apartment steam cleaned no matter how clean you leave them. I think that should be enough rambling for now. Are you ready to dig in? Here are a couple of resources to find available apartment listings: Craigslist: Pretty straight forward, setup like your average classified website offering some filters to narrow down search. Though these do not work all the time I would recommend using the filters sparingly. Remember you are looking for distance, access to campus, bus routes, frequency of buses, shops and of course rents. Hot Pads: This was one of my favorite websites as it overlays available properties on a map. This helps put into perspective location and surrounding facilities.(Also used as the base map to create the map image above). Apartments.com: Another website that creates map overlays of available properties and also lets you plan commute! Feed the website an address in the "Plan Commute" section and it should provide you travel times using various modes of transportation. The data is retrieved from WalkScore with is an authority on these matters. Rent.com Apartment Guide ForRent.com Apartment Finder You can also check out Property management company websites directly for availability. Note that these companies vary in ratings so it is always helpful to read user reviews on apartment rating websites. Ratings can be based on leasing experience, maintenance experience, friendliness and flexibility. Let me list a few companies to get you started: Amore Apartments Myer's Management Mozart Management Sterling Land Company Union Real Estate Kefalos and Associates McKinney Properties Lobos Management Out of these I have heard bad reviews about Lobos Management so you might want to be vary of them. Personally I had Amore Apartments as my management company, their prices were high and service was satisfactory, however location of their 5th Neville property was the closest. They weren't the most flexible either when it came to lease terms and have also raised their prices significantly during the past year due to intense demand. I hope this guide provided some insight and did not completely confuse you . I apologize in advance for the random thoughts. If you have any questions or want detailed help on issues that I might have overlooked just ask away. I'll keep updating this post as more questions are asked and answered. Happy Apartment Hunting!
  13. I came across this cool website that simplifies rent sharing. Might be of some use to new and current students. Although getting a bigger apartment and splitting rents is more economical, there is always the underlying problem of room selection. Usually rooms have different sizes and characteristics that make it difficult to split rents equally. Issues like; who gets the bigger room, who gets the better view or who gets more storage space are perhaps very common in scenarios like these. However, a couple of students have created a website that does all this for you. Each person places a virtual bid on the room they want by allocating the maximum amount of money they are willing to pay, which is then factored in an algorithm that assigns rooms based on selected criteria. So if you are thinking of sharing an apartment or switching places for next year you might want to check it out. The website is called Spliddit.
  14. I second Ahsan. Stipend is not uniform, it can vary a lot depending a lot on what city you are in. The calculation is based on living costs so for example, the same apartment in New York can cost 1/3 in Pittsburgh which is therefore accounted in stipend calculations. Secondly, I might be wrong but I believe reputation has a lot of weight in this. Fulbright scholars over the years have continuously performed well hence placement universities more readily accept such students. Their partnership over the years have made them comfortable collaborating with USEFP.
  15. Some of the members have reported that they are unable to receive notifications to topics they create or reply to. This is causing them to miss out on forum replies/questions. These issue has been resolved for new members registering after 9th December 2014. Please follow the steps below if you registered before this date and cannot receive notifications. Enabling/Disabling GradTrunk Notifications Once logged in, click your display picture on the top right Click on My Settings Using the vertical menu on the left click Notification Options Under Topics & Posts tick Auto follow topics I reply to. Select Notification Frequency to: Immediate, for instant notification Please reply to this post if you still cannot receive notifications after these settings. An administrator will be happy to help you.
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