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

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

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sigh

So I had an interview today. No, not with a b-school, but with a kid interested in filling a junior slot within my group. He wants to go to business school eventually, and after I mentioned I was intending to go this fall he had an array of questions for me. I gave him the best advice I could give him- don't go if you just want to learn; go because you want to get a job in a different field you can't easily get from your current job and because you need to build your network. That's b-school's greatest value imo- the "start over" card. If your career is going well, don't bother with b-school. Only go because you've come to a point where you can't advance or can't advance at the pace you'd like to without it. B-school only comes around once, so don't waste it.

So then I started to think about my own life. I've come to a point in my current profession where I can't get to the kind of job I want without taking a "stepping stone" job first. In my previous searches for jobs, the "stepping stones" have never been all that interesting. Scratch that, one was interesting, but the fund was way to small to bother. Anyway, the stepping stones available don't interest me, I'm tired and want a break, and I have no real network to speak of. So, b-school is for me. But then I started to think about what went wrong way back when (obviously, the lack of tv this week has left my mind to idle thoughts ;-) ). Man, if only I knew in college what I know now. I'd be an f-in rock star. Instead, I'm just simple little Redwolf. Hell, if I just knew at the beginning of college on-campus recruiting what I knew at the end I'd have been way way better off. I had such lofty aspirations coming out of college. And I know I have the ability to achieve them. I just had no one knowledgeable to guide me. I only really needed to know maybe five or six additional things at the beginning of on-campus recruiting and I would have been set. My plans back then did not involve ever going to b-school. In the line of work I wanted to be in, b-school was almost irrelevant. In my current position, it's the only way to get into it. Ah, how life could have been different. Instead, I'm sitting at my desk bored with my job knowing I can't leave for a couple months. Ugh. Upon graduation from b-school I should have the type of job I'm looking for. I think I'll squash much of the competition. And then I'll be exactly where I should have been when I graduated from college. Only several years behind. What a waste. Hopefully my advancement will be accelerated with all the "experience" I've gathered, but who knows. Oh well, it is what it is. Can't do anything about the past now. Luckily, adaptability is one of my best skills. Now what worries me most is that there will be something else I'll learn five years from now which I'll wish I knew "back when I was looking for jobs out of b-school" that would have made a world of difference in my life. After all, you only get to go to b-school once...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Zen

This morning I realized I have achieved some sort of "zen" with the whole MBA application process. At the moment, I am awaiting a decision from Kellogg and an interview invite from Stanford. I also have to schedule my Columbia interview, which I have put off way too long. Anyway, I should be in eager anticipation of my Kellogg decision, at least. And yet, I was checking out MBAJackass' blog this morning and came across a post about Kellogg decisions and it didn't even phase me. No heart skipping, nothing. My only thought was "Eh, I'll get my decision when I get it." So I realized that I have acheived some kind of zen with this whole application process (probably has something to do with the fact that I have an admit in hand...). I once would have scoured the b-week boards for info, but now it feels like there's no point. I must admit, not having this stress is pretty nice :-). Good luck to all those still awaiting their fates. Try to remember that stressing or obsessively checking is not going to increase your chances of getting in and is really only going to hurt you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Catch Up

It's been a while since I've really blogged. That "tag" thing doesn't count. So, let's recap a little.

Kellogg Interview- I had my alumni interview with Kellogg a while back. Overall, I'd say it went ok. Nothing great, but nothing bad. After my Wharton interview experience, I figure that's all I really need. I said the things I wanted to say, but I didn't say them in the best way and I might have sounded a bit disorganized. At the end I didn't feel like I really connected with the guy, but he could just be really good at not giving any indication to his interviewees. What was really good about the interview was hearing what the guy had to say about Kellogg. Obviously he loved it, but more important was that his background is in the area of finance I'd like to go into (not i-banking). He actually works at one of the premier hedge funds on the street and when I heard that I was really impressed. Kellogg has never been considered one of the big finance schools, but man, if the alumni network can place a guy at that shop there's no reason for anyone wanting to go into finance not to consider Kellogg. So, I became somewhat enamoured with Kellogg after the interview :-).

India- I went to India shortly after the interview for about a week and a half.

Chicago Trip- Around the time of the Kellogg interview I decided I needed to go and actually visit the school to "show interest". Graham at Clear Admit told me for the Wharton interview I should do it on campus in order to demonstrate my interest in the school and all, so I figured I should do the same for Kellogg. But, I already had my interview so if I went it would just be for a visit. Fine. At Wharton they had a computer where you registered yourself just for showing up on campus which probably gets noted in your file, so I figured Kellogg would have the same deal. Wrong. The main point of the trip was to demonstrate my interest in Kellogg and desire to go there, but now they have no idea I was ever there because they have you fill out nothing! Just show up, visit a class, go to the info session, tour campus, "no, no, no names here." I guess Kellogg doesn't really care if you visit? The only nugget of useful info I didn't already know was to show up for DAK2 Wednesday night so you can go apartment hunting Thursday because a LOT of places for the fall get taken by then. Sunday is not the best option. The other reason I was going was to hopefully meet a professor who's good friends with my cousin and maybe have him drop a little note to adcom about how great I am ;-). Well, he never even responded to the email my cousin sent him so that "connection" is out the door.

So I was supposed to come back to NY on Sunday, but a little snow storm got in my way so I had to stay another day. Oh but wait, all the flights back on Monday were full by the time I called them so I couldn't get back til Tuesday! Yippie! I was staying with a friend who goes to Chicago GSB (yes, I stayed with a GSBer for the express purpose of going to visit Kellogg. Sorry to say he supported the decision), so he went to campus Monday to study while I stayed at home and did nothing. Ahhh, the joy of doing nothing. I forgot how good it is. Eventually I went a saw a movie after several hours of lounging. Got some dinner, went to bed early. Anyway, so the next day I went to campus with him because we'd have to go straight to the airport. Spent the day in the Hyde Park Center. Definitely way nicer building than Kellogg. It is practically brand new after all. Went to a class in the morning taught by one of those "in demand" professors, and while the class itself was good I realized something. It was really no different than the class I took at Kellogg (also with an "in demand" prof). The prof was an engaging speaker and taught well. The class shared their ideas. What's the difference? And then I realized all schools are like this (except maybe HBS with the whole case method thing). They have a share of "great" teachers, and then a score of average teachers. Big deal. And fame isn't an indicator of "greatness" because the skills necessary to be a genius or a brilliant researcher are not the same as those for being a brilliant teacher. And so then I started to think about what really separates a school from the rest- 1) Share of faculty that are "great" teachers, 2) Variety of classes offered, and 3) depth of knowledge obtained from a class. No one has ever quantified #1, #2 is easily observable, and #3 is semi-observable. I think this is really all the "academics" part of choosing a top b-school boils down to. Good thing I don't really care about academics ;-).

As far as social life is concerned, I didn't really observe enough to draw any conclusions on. Kellogg students seemed more enthused about their school/life than Chicago students. I was surprised to hear that 1st year Kellogg students generally stay in Evanston both residentially and weekend-socially. 2nd years go to the city for the weekends, but still live in Evanston. I can't really blame them though. It's pretty nice up there. And for all those guys out there wondering, I have to say I was a little disappointed by the "talent". Granted, I did not see a large number of girls on campus, but still. Not up to the snuff everyone always talks about. The non-Kellogg peeps did make things interesting though... But what was really surprising was that the GSB actually had a pretty decent offering. Trust me, it was not always this way. Apologies to all the ladies out there who are offended by these comments.

Columbia Update- I also got an interview invite from Columbia. I submitted my app pretty early so don't start freaking out if you haven't gotten one. Like last time, I have three alums to choose from, and like last time I'm going to get my buddy at work who's a CBS alum to get their alumni profiles so I can better choose between them. Since my app to Columbia sucked I really don't care that much about this interview. I think it's going to be a waste of time. But, we'll just have to wait and see...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

So you want to know something about me, eh?

I've been on vacation for the last two weeks. Got back and found I was "tagged". By more than one blogger. So here are some personal details to help all of you out there "identify" me.


Four jobs I've had in my life:
Ice Cream Scooper
Camp Counselor
Inter-Library Loan Book Puller
CFO


Four movies I can watch over and over
Office Space
Star Wars
The Fifth Element
The Big Lebowski
(these are movies I can watch over and over, not my top 4 favorites)


Four places I have lived
New York
London
Earth
Universe


Four TV shows I love to watch
Lost
Gilmore Girls
Survivor
Sopranos


Four places I have been on vacation
Hong Kong
India
Prague
Tokyo


Four of my favorite food/drinks
NY Pizza
Grilled Tuna Steak
Chana [insert style here]
Microbrews


Four websites I visit daily
Yahoo Mail
Ameritrade
NY Times
Clear Admit Blog


Four places I'd rather be right now
Hawaii
B-School
Australia
In Bed


Four bloggers I'm tagging
Me
and
You
and
Everyone We Know