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

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

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Ol' Feedback Session

Not too long ago I had a feedback session with Wharton. It's a blog post I've been meaning to do for a while but for some reason have just not gotten around to it. Unlike some others, I thought my feedback session went smoothly and was fairly productive. As it turned out, much of the feedback they gave was not as useful as the feedback they didn't give...

The problems they cited-

1) Leadership and managerial experience. Not too surprising, this is exactly what I figured they'd get me on as I basically had none (in my app). They were even like, "We understand it's generally difficult for research analysts to demonstrate leadership/management, so we tend to look for it in the extracurriculars and community service." At first I was fairly impressed they were capable of making that kind of distinguishment in their expectations for candidates, and then I wondered if I really even should be. Have I come to expect so little from adcoms? Oh well...

2) Verbal skills. Specifically my analytical capabilities. This really surprised me as these are generally considered by myself and by others to be amongst my greatest strengths. They couldn't directly comment on the contents of my interview because it's "confidential", which made it a pain in the ass to actually get feedback on, but basically they said I answered questions directly but did not probe deep enough in my responses. As they were telling me this, all I could think about was how my interviewer back in December explicitly said the interview would be very casual and how my answers were, accordingly, fairly casual. It was a conversation, not a thought-provoking discussion requiring depth and insight. When she asked me about my job I didn't go into details and I even told her it was because I do really quantitative research and most people find it uninteresting and hard to understand. Guess I'll have to make sure I'm more direct and thorough next time around.

3) Short term goals. I didn't really list a short term goal, which just was a mistake. In fact, I said my short term goal was to get into an MBA program :-). This is an easy answer for me, I just dropped the ball. I know exactly what I want to do after b-school (it's the main reason for going!), but for some reason I didn't think they were interested in it. What was I thinking?

4) Typo. I had a typo in my work experience section that made it seem like I spent a year less than I really did at a former job. Dumb ass! I spent so much time proofing my essays I missed a big mistake elsewhere. Although, if the reader had really paid attention, he/she would have noticed that in my reason for leaving I wrote the actual number of years I had been there and that the total number of months of work experience I claimed I would have at matriculation was a year longer than the sum of the years listed in the work experience section.

Note to self, readers do not read that thoroughly, but you must answer thoroughly. Hmmmm...

Before I had the feedback session I thought over my app and figured my biggest weaknesses were leadership and extracurriculars. I had planned on a major change in my work experience because of this partly to address my weaknesses, and partly because I was ready to leave my job for b-school this year anyway. Interestingly enough, leadership they agreed on but extracurrics they did not. Most surprising since I really haven't done much with my free time post college other than the CFA and some writing. I ran the work experience change by them anyway during the feedback session, and they were not so thrilled with the idea. Of course they'll never ever give you a straight answer one way or the other, but you can generally tell by the way they respond or the hesitancy/positiveness in their voice. How's that for probity :P? So, that meant I was just going to have to keep on working at my current job and do something else on the side to get the leadership stuff covered. Luckily I've already got something going that's really interesting. I think this experience, along with the fact that I'll be a year older and I know far better what to write in my essays (for each school even), will make me a most formidable applicant. Wharton, your ass is mine.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Need an Apartment?

I visit CNN.com once a day to catch up on what I call "trash" news. Every so often they inform me of some true gems on the internet which I had no idea existed. Fat Wallet has proven to be the best thus far, but today I came across an excellent second- Housingmaps.com. This site is awesome. It combines Craigslist and Google Maps to provide apartment listings identified on a city map. If you've ever used Craigslist before, you'll know it can be a pain to look through the apartment descriptions because there's no good template to identify the characteristics one is looking for. Now, you can see where the listings plot on a map, click on the ones of interest, and pull up the details. It makes it much easier to identify new listings as well. I'm not sure if every Craigslist listing makes it onto Housingmaps.com, but you can figure that out for yourself. Check it out!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Once More Into The Breach, Dear Friends

I've been MIA this week, much to my pleasure and to my dismay. Taking the week off from work is an enjoyable experience- sleeping late, watching some tv, NOT having to work, etc. - but, unfortunately, studying for the CFA exam sucks ass! Yes, my friends, in a day and a half I will be struggling through that most vile of temptresses, the CFA Level III exam. I call her a temptress because she lures you in with comforting thoughts like "you're almost done, just this one more and you'll have that nice shiny 'CFA' to add to your business card and command a degree of additional respect in the marketplace," only to later bitch-slap you as the day approaches with, "oh you think I'm some sort of slut do you? I ain't that easy. Just because I have the highest pass rate of the three doesn't mean I give it up to just anybody, foo'. The pass rate is just a selection bias. Oh, and while you're at it, describe three problems models face from selection bias (9 minutes)." I think the pass rate was in the high 50s / low 60s last year, which is pretty bad when you think about it. All these people passed Level II at somepoint with its 32-50% pass rate, and now 40% of them can't pass Level III? Man I'd really hate to fail. The thought of another year of this shit is just depressing. The best advice I can give to anyone thinking about getting a CFA charter is to do it ASAP if you're going to. They seem to be making it harder every year that goes by...

Good luck to all my brothers and sisters in arms ths weekend! And may your boozin' surpass my own Saturday night!