My life, my blog, and B-school somewhere inbetween

A catalog of one reapplicant's journey towards an MBA in 2008

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Happy Festivus!

A Festivus for the rest of us! I think it's fitting since I'm neither Christian nor Jewish, and yet my family celebrates both Christmas and Hannukah (long twisted story, perhaps for another post...). Hope all enjoy this holiday time, even if it's not your holiday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Day After

Wharton rejection was a big disappointment. The path my life has taken thus far has made it very clear to me that, when it comes to important stuff that I have no control over, I will never get exactly what I want. I am very often given #2 or #3, but never #1. But I am very rarely given the very worst option, so I am content with that arrangement. When it came time to apply to b-school, part of my decision not to apply to U of C GSB was because I thought it would be tempting fate. The U of C is a superior school that many would be thrilled to attend, but I have some personal reasons which keep me from wishing to do so. The school would be really good but not preferred, and so a clear "#2". I had thought about it as a backup after what my interviewer said, but later decided that I would only apply to schools I would really want to go to so as to "game the system", so to speak. If you don't give fate the option to disappoint, it can't. So, even when I didn't get the "top tier" choices for me, I would still be happy to go to the "second tier" and not just be making a selection that would be long run good for my career. College sucked, time to enjoy myself. Anyway, of the three I applied to, Wharton was my last choice. But it was such a fantastic "last choice" to have! After visiting it, I thought for sure it was my "destiny" to go there. Seemed like a perfect fit. But now that I've been rejected, I'm not really sure what's going to go down. Fate found the one hole in my plan (a big hole, I know).

After college I made the decision I would do everything I could to avoid going to b-school because of the costs, $ and opportunity. For the line of work I was looking to do, it was unnecessary. But, I am no longer in that line of work and I can't get back directly. Need a stepping stone- either b-school or another job. Given the Wharton reject and the slim chances now at HBS and Stanford (there's really only about a week and a half for Stanford to send an invite and two and a half for HBS), I'm re-evaluating the whole thing. Of course, with the holidays now I can't really figure anything out until people start working again in January. So I find myself back to playing the waiting game, which sucks.

Disappointed about Wharton? Yes. Bothered by it? No. My life always works out ok. Not great, but ok.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Wow, it only took 3 posts to get a ding. Wharton man, I thought we were friends dude? What's up with that? Oh well...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Catch Up

For my first real post I should probably play a bit of catch up to inform all those eager readers of my humble MBA-related beginnings. I work in finance in NYC. I decided to pursue an MBA some time back in August after the job market made it apparent to me that I was already pidgeon-holed and would not be able to do something much different directly from my current job. So, I could either take another job as a transition to what I want to do, or go to b-school. At first I figured I would just apply as a backup but focus mainly on going for the transition job. That led me to only apply to what I considered my top choices- HBS, Stanford, and Wharton. But in the course of doing all these applications I've decided I really do want to go to b-school. I could really use a change of pace right now, and b-school seems to have the best mix of things.

Anyway, I took the GMAT in September, scored very well, and banged out the HBS and Wharton apps in the two and a half weeks that followed before the deadlines. I am lucky enough to work for a very accomodating company that allowed me the time necessary to get the apps done. That and I have a very knowledgeable friend at the U of C GSB who helped me brainstorm ideas for essays and edit them.

Once those two were out the door, I went to Chicago to visit my friend as well as some others. Since I knew I was going, I had already arranged to do an interview at the GSB. I didn't realize it was also the prospy weekend. The night before the interview, I went out to the GSB Thursday Night Drinking Club with my friend. I didn't really have that great a time and it reminded me of undergrad way too much (ie. not fun, but that's another story...). It was also freezing and only October! After that, I decided I wasn't going to apply, but I should do the interview anyway for practice. I went in, no prep or anything, and had at it. It was not out of arrogance that I did this but actually naivete about the preparation normally done for such interviews. Since then I've learned what needs to be done for an interview :). Luck was on my side though, and it went about as good as it could. I was not at all nervous because I already knew I didn't want to go there (there are better reasons than those I've listed, but they must remain hidden for anonymity purposes). At the end of the interview the interviewer said something like "If you tell anyone I'll deny it, but I'm telling you now you're getting in." I feel kind of bad now writing this as I'm sure there are plenty who think I'm an idiot or perhaps selfish for squandering this, but you'd understand if you knew my reasons. Oh well, maybe after I get in somewhere I'll reveal them. Look at it this way, at least I'm not taking a seat from someone else who does want to go.

Before that weekend, I went to a Stanford infomation session and I was amazed. I had actually been having some doubts that the school was right for me, but after the information session all concerns were allayed. It seemed like my ideal school. So, I really wanted to do a good job on the application. After I came back from Chicago I had about two weeks before the deadline. Unlike the other essays, Stanford Essay A needed over a week for me to do right. I think it's one of the best things I've ever written. But, it's very personal, doesn't even imply anything about leadership and all the other stuff adcom's look for, and so may not work. I knew it was a bit of a chance, but a chance I thought worth taking because I thought so well of it. I only hope the adcom does too, but we have yet to see...

Applications away, relief finally set in, but only until mid November when I decided to just check the message boards to see what, if anything, was going on. I found out it was already time for Wharton interviews, the deadline was approaching, and I had yet to receive an invitation. Panic set in, and so I scoured every inch of the message boards and discovered such things as the S2S board and blogs. Since then, I've been an active reader (and stresser).

Few days after I got my invitation to interview with Wharton. I decided to do a campus interview since I didn't want to be asked by an alumnus "Have you visited yet?" and have to reply "Uhhh, no, even though I'm only an hour and a half away, but I know really want to go there anyway...." That and I figured I'd do better with someone closer to my own age for the interview. Campus was great, people not at all like the stereotypes, and classes interesting and engaging. I'm sure you've all read other stuff about Wharton, so I'll leave it at that. The interview itself went ok. The interviewer, a second year girl in the healthcare program (forgot the name), grew up near where I did, and started out the interview saying it would be conversational. "Excellent," I thought. I walked her through my resume very casually, conversation flowed throughout, and before I knew it 45 minutes were up. Sounds like it went well, but at the end I was attempting to get some kind of subtle indication, only to find a completely neutral face. After getting such a clear response at U of C, that response did not sit well. And afterwards thinking about it all, I gave a mediocre reason for why MBA and Wharton and many of my attempts at humor did not seem to have the desired result. I might have scared her a little by mentioning my interest in philosophy too. Could have been better, could have been worse, I guess. Since then, I developed a theory that those kinds of interviews might be the worst kind. "Good" interviews are likely to be perceived as good by the interviewer. "Bad" interviews are most certainly not good, but I think adcoms might be forgiving if the application is good because they realize sometimes people just have a bad day and are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. "Ok" interviews are neither good nor bad, but typically do not lead the interviewer to believe the interviewee was just having a bad day. The "ok" performance is likely to be viewed as what the person can offer, which is just ok. I'd love to hear some others' insights into this logic. Anyway, interview done I stuck around for Pub, had a great time, and realized Wharton was an excellent "fit" for me.

And that about sums it all up to date. No word from HBS nor Stanford. I have little hope for HBS because I don't think I fit there based on the admittedly little I know. I think I fit really well at Wharton and, based on the informational, Stanford. There's now about a day and a half before I find out about Wharton, but for some reason I'm not stressing about it much. Maybe it's a "calm before the storm" kind of thing. I am stressing most about getting an HBS interview for some reason. Perhaps it's because I have little hope of getting one and am in some kind of subconcious denial that I might not get an interview with Stanford because I think my application there was so much better than my others. Wharton I can do nothing about with so little time left. But I guess I can't do anything about HBS or Stanford either...?

Hope this has been interesting enough for you. If not, too bad.

Friday, December 17, 2004

My first blog entry

This seemed like a really great idea based on all the others I've read, so I thought why not? Of course, I have nothing of note to say...