Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is it break yet?

Things sure are busy in Winston-Salem! It's been almost a month since my last post, and for that I apologize. We were told by the second year students that this time of year is the busiest. They weren't kidding! It seems each week we've got a final, a project, or some mix of both. We've finished two courses so far, Managerial Economics and Management Communications. This weekend we write our case final for Quantitative Methods, then take that final exam Monday. On Tuesday, our accounting projects are due. Next Monday and Tuesday, our accounting and finance exams. Then we have a break for Thanksgiving, then as soon as we get back, our main project for Organizational Behavior is due, followed quickly by a marketing final. Phew!

On top of that, we still have regular classes, complete with pop quizzes and lengthy readings. My advice to any prospective student: invest in a comfortable chair and some good lighting. Your eyes and back will thank you! The quiz count this week is three so far, with another one to come tomorrow. I wouldn't say this was an abnormal week, but definitely a trying one. With all these projects and exams and classes coming to a head, things feel at a bursting point. I keep telling myself, December isn't far away!

In other news, things continue to progress on other fronts. Various groups continue to meet and discuss issues and trips. The Wine Club had a rousing meeting where we tasted various new world reds. The Marketing Summit team continues to plan and strategize for this year's event. Project Nicaragua has selected its group for the January trip. The international trips have been announced and people are excited to figure out where they want to go next May. Football season is about to end, but the Demon Deacon basketball team is set to begin!

It's definitely a period of change right now. The weather is changing. The leaves have packed up and headed closer to terra firma. Some classes are ending, others are beginning. We are nearly one quarter of the way through our MBA, and it feels like just yesterday we started this crazy adventure!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Break

Today is our "fall break." A whole one day of classes free. I spent my day off sleeping; went to bed at 2AM, woke up at 1PM. It was amazing. A perfect use of my free time! Now it's back to business and getting some work done. Since lots of people headed out of town for the weekend, it should be pretty quiet here in Winston-Salem.

We had our first exam on Monday. 3 hours of accounting was pretty rough. More exams are coming up in the week to follow, as we end the first mini and begin the second. Most classes carry over between minis, so it's not like we have a fresh slate of professors or anything. Just a new seating chart (I move from the cushy confines in the back row to the first row off to the side) and new material.

I've talked a lot about balance in business school, as have several other bloggers. What is the right balance between class work, activities and personal time? Honestly, I don't think there is one. I don't think I'll ever reach a point where everything fits into my schedule. Some weeks coursework is light, so I focus on myself or other obligations. Other times, I have tons of work for classes and everything else falls by the wayside. Mostly, it's a mix of stuff and it's impossible to fit everything in.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

They Said It Would Be Hard

And they were right! From when we first arrived on campus, the second year students told us that October (along with February) is absolutely brutal in terms of workload and the busy factor. They weren't lying. Just this week alone I've had three presentations, a pop quiz, six meetings, a deliverable for econ and many other things. This weekend is my reunion and homecoming, but we also have an accounting final Monday morning. This is a crazy balancing act!

I fully understand what they mean when they say October will test your will. While mine hasn't broken, it is definitely being pushed to the limit. I don't think I've woken up and felt confident about my work for that day. I continue to plug away and try and do the best I can; at the end of the day, that's all you can ask of yourself.

Last Friday I had my first interview for an internship. I had heard about it from our Career Management Center and spoke with several students who did this same internship last summer. For my first interview, I think it went well. It was completely behavioral, as I'm sure most of mine will be. I did get a nice bag of swag, which is always nice! It was also my first attempt at a career fair. It can be daunting, walking up to potential employers and literally throwing yourself in front of them. While a good number of companies were not in my future plans, it was excellent practice.

Things continue to spin dangerously close to the ridiculous line here at Wake Forest Schools of Business. You can see stress levels rising each day when someone has a presentation or interview. It's October, so the first mini is almost over. Can't believe 1/8th of our MBA program has gone by!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Caught In The Storm

And they say it's only going to get worse! Wow! This whole MBA process sure is a trial-by-fire for time management and prioritization skills! Do you finish your quant homework or work on a cover letter for that internship deadline? Go to your Marketing Association meeting or Ambassador training? Watch How I Met Your Mother or sleep? All tough decisions!

September is coming to a close, and I think all us first year MBA students have a good grasp on just how difficult this whole experience will be. There's simply too many things to do. Too many assignments, deliverables, team meetings, project meetings, clubs and organizations...don't even think about personal time! My DVR is certainly getting a workout.

It's important to take time for yourself, or you'll never get out alive. This afternoon, after my Project Nicaragua meeting, I decided to go for a run. I didn't go as fast as I used to, or as far, but it was good to take a half hour and do something just for me.

So what's coming up in MBA world? Several presentations and group projects, Career Quest MBA fair in College Park, Maryland, and soon...exams. On the unofficial Head Under Water scale, I'd say it's up to my chin right now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's A Whirlwind!

Phew! When they said an MBA program is a lot of work, they weren't kidding. When they said time management is a big issue, they were sugar-coating just how difficult it can be. And it's only been a few weeks! It's not even October yet! It's going to be an interesting two years.

Elections for first year positions in various student clubs took place over the past week. I'm the first year representative for the Babcock Marketing Association and the Communications Committee of the Marketing Summit. I'm also involved with the Wine Club, Strategy and Consulting Club, Student Ambassadors and the intramural soccer team. Of course, I still have a full course schedule and have to find a job for the summer! Yes, recruiting has begun.

The CMC office does a very good job preparing us for the madness that is recruiting. They help you identify your passions and your purpose, so that you can effectively search for internships you can be happy doing. A few companies have held information sessions, industry panels start soon, and the ratio of polo shirts to suits seems to move closer to 1:1 each day. Career Quest, a recruiting fair in College Park, Maryland, takes place in early October. There will be many companies there, even some government agencies.

I had identified a possible internship, and luckily for me, two second year students did the same internship last summer and both got offered full-time positions a few weeks ago! They have been invaluable resources as helped greatly as I scrambled to meet a very tough deadline. I heard about the internship on a Tuesday, and applications and resumes were due on Saturday! I spent a good deal of time working through my resume and talking with my career counselor. I made the deadline, and given the time limitations, I'm pretty happy with my effort!

Things are definitely in full swing here at the Schools of Business. Campus is abuzz with activity, as students work tirelessly on the latest quant assignment, while gathering information for a communications presentation and waiting for a career panel to begin. Intramurals have begun, clubs are starting to set things in motion for events and trips, and quizzes and grades are appearing in mailboxes. Such is the life of a first year MBA student!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where Does The Time Go

The first few days of my MBA? Fairly manageable. My first full week? Good lord! Now I know what everyone meant when they said "Just wait, it'll get crazy soon!" I'm experiencing first-hand the whole notion that there's simply too much work and not enough time to do it all. As performances begin to slip, panic sets in. And on top of that...

The SGA Club Fair was yesterday afternoon in the courtyard of the law school/business school. All the clubs were there with their representatives, including the Dean, as well as food and beer. Nothing like spending a sunny afternoon having a beer and learning about the different clubs and organizations! There's simply too many clubs you find yourself signing up for; I think I finished with seven or eight.

Top on my list were the Marketing Summit and Marketing Association. I also signed up for Project Nicaragua, NetImpact, Strategy and Consulting Club, Ambassadors, the Wine Club and the intramural soccer team. Can I do it all? Absolutely not. I figure pretty quickly I'll need to make some tough choices and widdle this list down to something that vaguely resembles manageable. The question is: what to cut?

Tomorrow is the first football game of the season, and with it the first tailgate! I haven't been to a game since 2004, back when Wake wasn't as competitive. I hear things have changed a bit; there's actually a lottery system for tickets now! Luckily I got one. Can't wait to enjoy some free time and watch Baylor go down!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The First Day

Today was the first actual day of my MBA program. Following about 18 months of GMATs, essays, school visits, interviews, nervous hours waiting on acceptance notification, down-time, and a whirlwind orientation, we finally got down to business. I think I speak for all my classmates when I say, let's get started!

We had been given some pre-work for certain this book, do these problems, etc. I think everyone was fully prepared, which led to lively discussions and learning interesting things. If the rest of the program is like this, I'm pretty excited! Of course, then the real work was assigned. I think as soon as classes were done, my learning team assembled in a study room for the next few hours and started hammering through the assignments for Thursday and Friday. Accounting and Quant seem to be giving people the most headaches right now.

All in all, it was a good first day. Wednesday is also donut day, we the lounge was filled with boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee, and I think everyone appreciated the opportunity to take a break in between classes and enjoy a snack. It's back to the grind tomorrow. My team is already planning on meeting tomorrow morning, to make sure we're ready to go on that days assignments (and to possibly avoid having to meet three times in two days!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And So It Begins!

Greetings all! It's been awhile since I last wrote anything. Honestly, I didn't think I'd keep blogging once school started. But, after some encouragement from my new classmates, I figured what the heck!

So, what's been going on with me since June? I stopped working at the end of June, went to Vegas for a few days, relaxed around the house, paid way too much money to fix various things on my car, packed up my few possessions and headed to Winston-Salem on August 6th. I mostly just set up my room in the house and tried to meet as many of my new classmates as possible. Good times were had by all, and on Thursday of last week, orientation officially began.

Five days of orientation may seem like a lot, and I figured it would drag on. Surprisingly, it's been better than my expectations. Donovan Campbell, our first speaker on Thursday, was awesome. I never expected an opening speaker at an MBA program to be so emotional! I think all 400 people in the room were deeply moved. I've ordered his book, Joker One, and I look forward to finding some free time to read it!

Friday, we got our free laptops, section and team assignments (go team ten!), and learned more about how the next two years will go. Yesterday was team building...for seven hours. I went in with an open mind and had a good time. I definitely came away with a better appreciation for my new teammates! All I can say is, we got eleven people through a hula-hoop in 5.7 seconds.

There's still two more days of orientation...Monday is more information sessions, Tuesday is Community Plunge, where all new students make a splash in the community by volunteering. Classes start Wednesday, and I'm already under a load of assignments to be completed!

I'll definitely try and keep up with blogging during the school year, and I'm also on Twitter. I look forward to sharing this journey with everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things Are Starting To Roll

It seems every other day, when I check the admitted students website, there's a new form or piece of information. I posted the other week about some forms being put online; now, most of them are available. Also, the economics pre-term work is up; I need to find a book and start studying. I'm almost done with the Excel portion and plan to do the accounting work when I get back from Vegas.

Housing is taken care of, so I finally have a place to live. It's a house, down the road from campus, with a fellow MBA student. Also, the specs for our laptops have been posted. I held out a tiny sliver of hope that we'd be getting Macbook Pros, but alas, WFU stuck with Lenovo. Each student (Wake provides laptops to every student; undergrads replace theirs after their sophomore year, and you keep the laptop once you graduate) will get a shiny new Lenovo Thinkpad T400 during orientation, as well as a printer. Cool stuff!

I have five more days of work left! It sounds so strange to think, after more than four years, it will soon be over

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let The Work Begin

Ask and you shall receive! I checked the admitted students website and lo and behold, two of the three pre-term assignments were posted. I've got some Excel prep work to do and I have to choose one of three options for financial accounting practice. I remember a bit of accounting from my undergrad days, but as my current job doesn't use much of it, I've forgotten most of it. I'm most likely going to choose the online option, for $55. I hope it's intuitive and easy to follow!

Also posted was the medical form. I have until July 1st to track down my medical records (not easy when you've moved twice in the past year and a half) and get a physical. I haven't been to a doctor since 2000! There's still more stuff to be posted (insurance, course registration, etc.) but at least it seems like we've officially moved from admitted students to actual students

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The calendar has turned to June. Summer is starting soon, the weather is finally getting some regularity (no more thirty degree temperature differences in a 24-hour span!), and lazy times are descending. I'm in my last 28 days of working at my current job and as I transition things I find myself with tons of free time. I think I only have five more deliverables!

In terms of school, I've started taking stock of what else must be done. I see health insurance forms, medical history and physical to be completed, pre-term work yet to be announced. I wish it would all start now so I can get going, instead of waiting around. Some of my future classmates have already moved to Winston-Salem and I look forward to joining them next month.

One thing I've noticed is that I've stopped following the new applicant bloggers (class of 2012), instead focusing more on the current students and my fellow admits. I'm very thankful that JulyDream has continued to update her blog throughout her internship, otherwise I wouldn't have much to read!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What A Weekend

Sorry it's been over a week since I last posted. Not a whole lot on the MBA front. I studied my budget pretty hard core and decided that getting rid of my current car is probably a good idea. There's not a whole lot of room for large car payments in an MBA budget! I also started filling out my Master Promissory Note from my chosen lender. Exciting stuff, eh?

Memorial Day weekend was a blast! As I have too much vacation/personal time left, I took off Thursday for Charlotte. What followed was a crazy weekend of too much golf, too much drinking, Lebron James hitting a miracle three-pointer, an Indians come-back win over the Reds, a piggyback ride gone horribly wrong, an escaped Pomapoo, and a near death experience on the West Virginia turnpike. Needless to say, I needed more recovery time than I gave myself.

Next up on the MBA front is to finish my Master Promissory Note so that I actually get money from the government, finally take care of the living arragements, and begin to go through what I have, what I'll bring, and what I'll need to buy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why I Decided On An MBA

This is a post I've wanted to make for a long time, but I think it took me actually going through the process to gain a better understanding of what I meant. It allowed me to more clearly articulate how I arrived at the decision to get my MBA. Essentially, I'm answering the Why MBA question, after the fact and without the limits of a normal essay.

My undergraduate experience was different than most students. I spent two years at one school then transferred into another; however, while I received time credit for what I did at School A, I didn't receive course credit. That meant I would need to retake English, foreign language, math, etc. And I was paying for it myself. I didn't have four more years to restart college! So, I doubled up my course loads, did full summer sessions and managed to finish School B in two and a half years. That's good, but I missed out on a lot of stuff. I never got to go abroad, never took spring break or summer trips, or had the opportunity to take a class for FUN! I missed that.

Cue to that first job, that first paycheck and a sense that college paid off. Cue to a worried feeling of being typecast into a certain job function. Cue to panic over the sense that, despite a degree in business management with a focus in marketing, you find yourself writing SAS/SQL code for eight hours a day with little responsibility or management potential. Cue the fear of being stuck.

In late 2007, that fear grew into a desire to change myself, to step out of the rut I found myself in and do something about it. I spoke with family, friends, work associates, crazy drunks at the bar. Over time, the thought of going back to school and getting my MBA crept into my head. I started looking into it more, reading up on the GMAT, selecting a wide range of schools that interested me, narrowing down that list once I realized they were pipe dreams. By January of 2008, I knew the MBA was the right path. Each little nugget I read, each website I scoured, the lights would flash in my head: MBA!

I felt an MBA would serve two purposes. First, it would allow me to have a real college experience, albeit one a bit more structured. I would start on the same level as everyone else, striving to the same goal at the same time. I'd have the opportunity to go to China or Japan or wherever, visit companies and learn about things I was actually interested in! I'd meet people with common interests yet diverse in their backgrounds. The social and cultural implications fascinated me; I couldn't get enough of reading about the experiences of people already in school and how much I wanted to be a part of that.

Second, an MBA would help solve my career crisis. I could spend two years refining what it is I'm meant to do. Should I be a brand manager? Is corporate strategy more interesting? Does the nomadic lifestyle of a management consultant strike my fancy? Can I actually handle quant-based courses? I'd leave with my masters, with a new set of skills and the knowledge that would allow me to succeed in whatever venture I so chose.

All of these things piled up on me and kept me focused throughout the application process. An MBA almost made too much sense, it solved all my problems in one fell swoop. I couldn't NOT go. I couldn't suppress that desire. I HAD to make it happen. And happening it is.

So, that's my MBA story. The time is right, the desire is there, and I'm ready to get started.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The More Things Change

Not much really going on the past week, hence no updates. 49 more days until I'm done with work, which is awesome. I got a chance to play some golf over the weekend, and I find myself wanting to play more and more. I know golf is an effective business tool and I'm definitely looking to improve my game. In light of that, I'm heading to Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend to visit my brother and play a few holes. I realized I still have six personal days I need to take from work before I'm done, can't let those go to waste!

The look of the blog has changed a bit. First, I changed some colors to be closer in line with the black and gold of Wake Forest. Second, I removed the Hit List of my schools, replacing it with a calendar of upcoming dates. There you will see what trips I have planned coming up. I'll have more updates soon.

One thing I did want to bring up: if you have been admitted to a school and know 100% that you will not be matriculating, PLEASE let that school know in a timely manner. There are thousands of people in Waitlist Purgatory who die a little more each day, waiting for an update. If you know you're not going, help out the waitlisted kids and withdraw.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to May

The calendar has turned to May. What does this mean for MBA applicants? It's pretty much the end of the line for Class of 2011 hopefuls. May is the final round for decisions, so if good news was headed your way, it'd be there by now. Myself? Well, I got an interesting status update at UNC today. I had previously been waitlisted in January and March. At that point, I decided Wake Forest was the choice for me. However, I forgot to actually let UNC know, even though they requested a decision from me several times. So, I get the email, log in to my account, and see that they have selected me for the "Final Waitlist." They mentioned they are oversold for this year, which makes you wonder why they'd continue to ask people to stay on the WL.

I'm committed to Wake Forest. I've paid my deposit, visited twice since getting admitted, met some very cool people and am excited about starting my life once again in Winston-Salem. MBA admissions are never easy. There's no roadmap, no Excel spreadsheet about why or how decisions are made. Why would Carolina, after telling me too many kids sent in deposits, ask me to continue to hold out on the waitlist? Even after I ignored their emails about notifying them about a decision? I don't get it.

Other than that wrinkle, I picked my final work date and let both my current boss and my soon-to-be-new-boss-from-the-new-company know. There wasn't much of a surprise. June 30th, a mere 57 days from right now! It's going to be hard to finish, I can already tell. My work will continue to slow until there's nothing left to do. How will I deal with the boredom?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

B-School Photos and Best of Blogging

Just a quick update.

First,'s Beautiful B-School Contest is currently going on and submissions must be in by Thursday, April 30th. I'm a judge for this and can't wait to see all the photos of the various business school campuses that you guys submit!

Second, I'd like to extend hearty congratulations to all the winners of Clear Admit's Best of Blogging Awards! All the winners did fantastic jobs and it was difficult to vote on some of the categories! I hope this inspires everyone to continue with their blogs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Evolution of a B-school Applicant

Getting in: that's the easy part! Now is when all the other stuff begins to creep up on you. First, you've got to pay for school. I'm fortunate with my scholarship, but I still need a little bit to cover cost of living. I went through and did the entrance exam and I now feel like I know everything about student loans (other than what I used to know, which is how to sign my checks each month!) Next up is selecting a lender. This doesn't seem difficult: my four options all carry the same rate and the same repayment plans/benefits.

Next, you've got to quit your job. I had targeted the end of June, and I think I'll stick with that. My bosses know I'm leaving, just not the exact date. I'm giving a lot of transition time, as I've seen the horrors of someone leaving without properly setting the stage for others to take over the work. I can't wait for my party!

Keep up to date on Facebook! This may seem a strange topic, but it's true. Most schools have an admitted students page on Facebook. I had met some people prior to RCW, so I felt I had a good base on conversation when we actually met. It's also nice to keep in contact with those you met.

Finally, set yourself up mentally and physically for B-school. Spend time with family and friends. Read non-business books. Catch up on some TV shows, like The Wire or Big Bang Theory. Go to the gym and work out or run. Relax! You've made it this far, the next couple of months are the calm before the storm of school.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Carpet Weekend Recap

After taking a recovery day, it's time for my recap of Red Carpet Weekend, Wake Forest's admitted students weekend. I drove down to Charlotte on Thursday to see my brother, before heading up to Winston-Salem Friday morning for the start of festivities.

As I hadn't yet sat it on an actual class (only mock classes during Showcase Saturday and Scholar's Weekend) I elected to visit one this time; my student host took me to a global competitive policy course. The professor was very engaging and the students had a lively discussion; my only complaint was that it would have been nice to have had a chance to read the case ahead of time so that I could better follow things. Otherwise, it was good. I also took time to visit my old bosses at the law school and talk to financial aid about some questions.

After a lunch (segragated like a junior high dance: boys on one side and girls on another) there was a house/apartment hunt. Having gone there for undergrad, I opted to go see a friend's house instead, where I'll be living next year. Great house! I checked in to my hotel before heading out to the Deacon Tower for a reception. That place is awesome! Met some old friends and some new faces, then split with a group for a dinner. Not as good as last time, but enjoyable. After dinner we all just went home to sleep. We were told Saturday would be a long day, to get lots of rest and eat breakfast!

Saturday was a blur. First, breakfast at the hotel, then a welcome by the program director followed by some lovely games of Human Knots. We all felt a bit closer after that! There was a student services roundtable after that, where I had a chance to learn more about Student Government, Project Nicaragua, the Marketing Summit and other stuff. After another career services panel, it was lunch time.

When lunch was finished, we headed over to Graylyn for more team building. Today's task: in teams of six, build a little pink bike, name it, make a cheer, then race it. One caveat: each member of the team had a "challenge." I was blindfolded; others were unable to speak, unable to touch, unable to use their dominant hand. I got to race the bike (though not blindfolded, thankfully!) and it was tiring! Nap time after that!

We had a wine tasting which was awesome. Outside, sipping some fine wines with my new friends. Dinner was lovely, had some good conversation with a few people I hadn't met yet and good a different perspective on school. We all headed out to the bar after that to unwind before calling it a night (actually, the bar called it a night when they closed!)

All in all, a great weekend. They announced that a few people actually paid their deposits right then and there, a testament to how much fun the weekend was!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Off to Carolina, part 827

I start my drive down to Carolina in an hour or so (after stopping to get a haircut). I can't wait to get away for a few days and focus on something other than funerals or work problems. I find I can barely contain my enthusiasm for starting my MBA; I'm sure my family and friends are sick and tired of hearing about the clubs and classes and networking and international trips and etc. and etc. It's hard to focus at work, knowing my time is limited and I'm there purely for a paycheck or to pass work off to someone else.

Red Carpet Weekend has a lot of events to do. I'll be meeting with financial aid to go over my scholarship and money issues, sitting in on a competitive global policy class, saying hello to my former bosses at the law school, finding an apartment, reconnecting with the people I met at Scholar's Weekend, finding a place to live, meeting new admitted students, team building activities, learning about Project Nicaragua and various other student services and attending dinners/social events. I'll need a vacation after this!

Lastly, I wanted to say farewell to MaybeMBA. Hers was one of the most honest and refreshing MBA blogs out there, with the added benefit of being told from the perspective of a parent MBA student. We will miss your words and insight!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

What a week...It's been about as emotionally draining as any I've ever experienced. My grandfather passed away on Monday, so we had that funeral on Thursday; a close friend's father passed Tuesday, so we had that funeral Saturday. I only worked for three days, I've spent way too much time away from home doing things I'd rather not do. Now it's Easter Sunday, time for ham, deviled eggs and potato salad.

Thankfully, this coming week is Red Carpet Weekend! I'm looking forward to getting away from the home front for awhile, seeing everyone I met during Scholar's Weekend and just unwinding for a bit. Focusing on something other than funeral arrangements and hugs and tears is definitely what I need right now.

Big congratulations to all of the Clear Admit Best of Blogging Award nominees for this year! Reading the blogs of TienyChesney and JulyDream helped me through my own application process and motivated me to write my own blog. These are excellent resources, and as JulyDream said the other day, extremely therapeutic!

Monday, April 6, 2009

PPPPPP or, Get Started

I spent my weekend thinking about the things I need to do, or begin thinking about, before school starts. Choosing a school is just one decision that needs to be made; many other decisions, both seemingly trivial and very important, will find their way into your head if you're not careful. Here are just some of the things I'm evaluating...

Career Decisions

- When to quit?: This is pretty easy. I'd love to quit now, but that would a) leave my company in a bind and b) would hurt my finances. I've tentatively scheduled to finish work at the end of June, which gives me time to save some money, train a replacement, and allow for a solid month+ of downtime before leaving.

- Evaluate Employment Report: I went through Wake's employment report for last year, looking at salary numbers and on-campus recruiters. I went to the websites of the firms if I wasn't familiar with them and came away with some more ammo for my internship search. The more work I do on this now, the easier it will be in the long run.

School Decisions

- International Trip: Part of my scholarship allows me to choose my international trip, so I've begun to consider my options. In 2008 the choices were India, China, Japan or Central America; in 2007 another option was Central Europe. Right now I'm leaning towards China, though if the Central Europe trip opens up, I may reconsider. One take-away I have from this is to get my new passport!

- Housing: This should be taken care of during Red Carpet Weekend; I've got some options, so I'm not too worried. Once I know my living situation, I'll be able to answer other housing questions (what furniture should I bring vs. buy, etc.)

- Clubs/Organizations: Like most MBA programs, clubs and organizations are a big part of the experience. I'm fairly certain I'll join the Marketing Club and Strategy/Consulting Club. The MBA Marketing Summit sounds like something I'd definitely be interested in, but would I want to run it, or participate as a contestant?

Many more decisions and thoughts lay ahead. I like that the journey has started, though.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Turn The Page

The calendar has turned from March to April and spring weather is in full bloom. What this means in Northeast Ohio is 67 and sunny one day, snow the next. And we wonder why everyone is sick all the time! April also brings more admissions offers, so congrats to all the new entrants to the Class of 2011!

I submitted my FAFSA the other day, so that's finally done. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but I'm hopeful everything will be alright. I leave for W-S in two weeks for Red Carpet Weekend and hope to secure my housing at that time. I'm hopeful the next few months fly by...I'm excited to quit my job and start this journey for real! After the past 14 months of studying and preparing essays and filling in biographical information and visiting campuses and interviewing with AdComs and current students and networking and....sigh, that's only the beginning! If getting your MBA is like a long road trip, right now we're all sitting at the gas station, deciding which road to take to our destination. We still haven't left the station yet!

I think we're all ready to slide into the driver's seat and get this show on the road

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fun With Money

For many admitted students, the joy of acceptance is quickly shifting to fear of money. Getting accepted was the easy part; now you've got to come up with over $100k to actually PAY for it! Many students get scholarships to help ease the burden of the financial commitment. Others (such as myself) were lucky enough to receive very generous aid packages and scholarships/fellowships. Many, however, will be forced to max out their available federal lending options.

First, a quick overview. And feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. When you get accepted, the school will tell you how much tuition is and the estimated cost of living. This total number is the Cost Of Attendance (COA). Let's say for our purposes the number is $75k (ie, $50k for tuition and $25k for cost of living). Now, to figure out how much you can borrow from the government, you subtract two numbers: your Estimated Family Contribution (this number comes from filling out the FAFSA) and any scholarships/grants awarded. Let's assume you get a $20k scholarship each year (good job!) and your EFC is zero. $75k - $20k = $50k. That's the total amount you can borrow from the federal loans. From there, you can borrow $20,500 from the Stafford loan program (between Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the rest must come from the GRADPlus program, up to the total COA. If you need more money than that, I hope you've got savings!

My scholarship covers my full tuition plus a stipend and an international trip. I'm not exactly sure what that means, so I've got a meeting scheduled with a financial aid rep for the admitted students weekend. I've already started the FAFSA (one more piece of advice...START NOW!) and hope to have that submitted within the next day or so. Luckily, I shouldn't need to borrow too much money in order to finance my education. Limiting the amount of debt is a huge advantage for me, especially in this market. Carrying $150k in loans at graduation is not an enviable position.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shocker of the Century!

Dinged by UCLA! Can you believe it! As it was my first application, I probably bungled this one more than any sane MBA applicant should. My essays weren't the best, I let a recommender be late which caused my app to get moved to R2 (I submitted back in early October), I didn't follow up with the school very much. UCLA always felt like the longest of long shots with just that hint of possibility that made me click submit. It seemed so far away, so different than anything I had experienced. The ding was not unexpected. Congrats to those who got good news!

In work news, a guy on my team quit today, which has forced my manager to question how much longer I'll stick around. I didn't want to tell him yet that I've been accepted and will be leaving in June, but them's the shakes. I didn't give him a hard date, but told him what my final month would be.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sign On The Line

Yesterday I submitted my notice of acceptance to Wake Forest, as well as making arrangements for my deposit to make it there. It's about as official as it's going to get! I've managed to keep in touch with some of the guys I met during Scholar's Weekend and they seemed happy about me coming. The next two years are going to be fun!

Now comes the part where I let Georgetown and UNC know that I do not wish to remain on the waitlist. It feels a bit odd, really; we wait for so long to be told yes and live in fear of hearing the word no. Now, I get to say no. Pretty drastic change. I'll send a polite email to both schools, thanking them for everything so far and wishing them well. No sense in getting an attitude about it!

The other school stuff now gets moved to the front of the burner. Housing, FAFSA, moving plans are the order of the weeks and months ahead. First task is definitely the FAFSA, though. I'll be meeting with financial aid to go over my scholarship, but I want to make sure the form is submitted ahead of time. Housing should be taken care of during RCW so I won't have to worry about that for too long. Once you've got a place, and know how you're paying for it, the rest is gravy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Game Is The Game

Today was decision day for UNC and Georgetown. I had previously been waitlisted at both back in R1 and was anxious to see the results. In short: they suck. I've been asked to remain on the WL at both. Notification for UNC would come May 4th; Georgetown on May 18th. Sorry, folks, not gonna happen.

I had been leaning towards Wake Forest pretty much since I got accepted back in January; my visit for Scholar's Weekend pretty much cemented it, but I wanted to give the other schools a chance. Asking me to remain on the WL is pretty harsh. Yes, I know it's not a straight ding, though at this point it must be. Schools know you applied to other places, and in the four or five months since you've surely gotten an acceptance somewhere with a deposit due. May dates clearly fall outside those dates. Those who choose to remain on the WL either haven't gotten in elsewhere or are willing to eat a deposit. I will not.

So, the choice is made. I will join the Wake Forest Babcock class of 2011 and have zero qualms about it. I've met fantastic people throughout, I love the school and the area, and I know I can be a part of something special. More importantly, I feel WANTED. Georgetown and UNC have had me on WLs since January (and asking to remain until at least May); Wake constantly reaches out to me to see if there's anything I need. Being wanted is a better feeling than being accepted.

I'll never know about Georgetown or UNC. Sure, I could tell them to keep me on the WL until May and find out my status then, but what would be the point? You don't ask a girl to the prom, and when she says yes ask another girl just to find out what she'd say. Me and Wake Forest, we're going dancing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness!

Ah, the most wonderful time of the year. All across the world, thousands and thousands of would-be prognosticators are filling out brackets for the NCAA Men's basketball tournament. Even the President has filled out his bracket. Who's going to the Final Four? Who's your 12-over-5 upset? So many questions...

I've got a Final Four of Wake Forest, Memphis, UNC and Pitt. Can't wait for games to start tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wake Forest Scholar's Weekend Recap

Wow, what a weekend! Scholar's Weekend was an excellent time. I met all the other scholarship students, lots of faculty and staff and current students. It was a lot of fun and very informative. I'm already looking forward to going back in April for Red Carpet Weekend!

Friday morning I headed out to the aiport for my flight to Greensboro. I was met by a representative of the hotel and, along with another prospective, driven to the place. Now, I never knew this place existed, but it was awesome! Graylyn is one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed at. After checking in and dropping my stuff off at the room, I went down for the welcome reception. There were 16 total scholars there, maybe half of whom had already submitted their deposits. Like any new social scene, things started off awkward and nervous; most topics tended to be your name, where you lived, where you went to undergrad, what job do you currently do and what your future industry will be. After a few hours of schmoozing and boozing, we were broken up into groups and driven to dinner. My group went to Mozelle's and it was excellent. Two current Deans Scholars were there, along with three other admits and a wife. Food was good, conversation was good. Afterwards a few of us ventured to a bar.

Saturday was a very early morning! Breakfast started at seven and the scavenger hunt began at eight. My team worked well together and ended up tying for correct answers. We then were shuttled to campus for a mock class...on 9:30AM. But it was actually good! The professor was very engaging. We then had a panel with alumni ranging from 2000 to 2008 and I took away alot of good stuff from that. We then had lunch and a speech by the dean on the future of the school. I think he inspired a good number of people. We then had a break before heading over to the dean's house to watch some basketball and have dinner. These hours were the highlight of my trip.

Before we left, a few of us wandered the grounds in search of stuff to do. We raided the ice cream room (free ice cream!) then walked around for awhile. At the dean's, conversations started getting onto other subjects, a sure sign that people were relaxing a bit more and opening up. Dinner was excellent. Afterwards we went out to a bar and met some other current students. I had an early flight so I left around 11.

Overall, the trip was excellent. I met some very cool people and got a better feel for the program. It's always good to be back in Winston-Salem and to see how much it's changed since I was there last. I'm pretty sure my decision has been made!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dinged at Duke

Ah, my first ding after an admit and two WLs. I knew Duke was a long shot, and my interview wasn't exactly the greatest thing. It still stings just a bit though. All that's left on the decision front is my WL status at Georgetown and UNC and my inevitable ding at UCLA (having not received an invite to interview, I think it's safe to say I'm not getting in).

So, my focus continues to be on Wake Forest. I leave for Scholar's Weekend early Friday morning and the schedule looks fun and action packed. Even better, Wake is playing in the ACC Tournament that weekend, so it should be a good time. I'm definitely looking forward to meeting some fellow admits and getting a feel for things down there.

To those that got in to Duke today, congratulations and best of luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Quiet Week

Virtually nothing happened in the past week. Nothing on the MBA front. Sure, Duke and UNC sent out emails stating decisions will be released soon, but we already knew that. Duke on the 10th and UNC on the 23rd (along with Georgetown). Wake continues its push to get me to commit. I feel like a prized free agent! A member of the Board of Directors called me....from the tell me why I should go to Wake. Awesome.

Work wise, things are hectic as always. I had my performance review and received a grading of "Achieves Expectations." Complete with my 2% raise in salary, I felt like a valuable member of the bank. Ha! I asked my manager some questions relating to the future, if we'll still be around in a few months, what it takes to "Exceed Expectations" and other stuff.

Other than that, it's been a quiet week. I've confirmed my flight for Scholar's Weekend; I'm arriving a bit early on Friday so that I can get situated then have a meeting with the head of the Career Management Center. I'm really looking forward to this, getting a chance to converse with others and see just why they offered me the package they did. Maybe they mixed my name up with someone else!

Next week I figure blogging will be easier as more will be going on.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Advice From

I didn't even realize it until today but took my current situation and offered their advice, not only to myself but to others in similar situations. In this admissions season I know there are others who must weigh offers between two very different schools, and they give good insight. Check it out HERE.

Changing The Way Admissions Works

Having gone through three admissions processes (applying for undergrad, applying to transfer undergrad schools and now MBA admissions) I know the pain it causes those applying and the repetitive and competitive nature for the schools involved. Everyone wants the best students possible; more than that, with certain sects they need not just the best they can get, but better than a competing school. The MBA example of this is Harvard vs. Stanford. Obviously each school can accept the top kids, but they are also very much aware of what the other is doing.

Admissions is a changing environment. It used to be stats, stats and stats. SAT/ACT, LSAT and GMAT/GRE along with your GPA could define your range of possible schools. Now, it seems the tide is turning. B-schools have started accepting the GRE and focusing on a more holistic approach outside the numbers. Some undergraduate programs have stopped requiring an ACT/SAT score. My alma mater (and future B-school) Wake Forest University was the first top 30 school to stop this requirement. There is a growing trend to look at the person and not just the numbers. Anyone can get a 700 GMAT and a 3.0 GPA. What makes you different is more important.

Wake Forest is hosting a long meeting on the changing admissions process, specifically for undergrad. Distinguished schools such as Harvard, Texas and UVA are participating. The goal is to make higher, elite education more accessible to everyone. All students should have a realistic opportunity of attending these schools, not just those with ultra-high SAT scores or grinders who got 760s on the GMAT. I encourage everyone to check out the website HERE.

Could you imagine an admissions world where Stanford didn't care about your GMAT score?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras!

Ah, good ol' Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday was usually a fun day back when I lived in New Orleans. I remember staying uptown for the parades and just enjoying myself with other people. Downtown was a different story completely! I hope everyone has a fun time wherever you celebrate. And for those of you in the Crescent City for the first time, remember: There ain't no place to pee on Mardi Gras day!

On the MBA front, nothing new to report from other schools. Hope has completely evaporated for an interview invite at UCLA, but that was to be expected. The Duke notification date is slowly creeping up; I do hope we get word prior to Monday. I know R1 decisions went out on the Friday before the date. Maybe we'll all get lucky!

I RSVP'd for Scholar's Weekend at Wake Forest. I'm working with the travel agent to determine the best flight to Greensboro. Gotta love that this is all paid for by the university! They'll also cover my costs to attend Red Carpet Weekend in April. One thing I'm liking about Babcock is the amount of communication between the school and me. Since getting accepted, I've had students call me and message me on Facebook, the Dean has called, I've gotten an email from a professor. I keep getting letters saying how much they want me to come. It really makes me feel like they're saying "We want you!" instead of "You may not be good enough, but I guess we'll let you in anyway."

Vegas dates are set. July 8th-12th, I found a flight and hotel for under $415, which is awesome. Can't wait!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is Winter Over?

The worst part about winter in northern Ohio is the sense of false hope it can give you. Just when you think it's nearing an end and warmer temperatures are coming, we get socked with a foot of snow. This morning my commute took over two hours (normally 45 minutes) and the walk from the car to the office was brutal. One can easily see why I chose the schools I did.

I got my formal invitations for Scholar's Weekend and Red Carpet Weekend at Wake Forest. Scholar's Weekend is for students receiving one of the big scholarships; it's a chance to learn more about the school, interact with other recipients and people, all on WFU's dime. They're covering airfare, hotel, shuttles and food. Sounds like a good time! The invitation came in the form of a call from the Dean. But I have to ask, why call at 10PM at night?

Red Carpet Weekend is the admitted students weekend, and falls a month after Scholar's Weekend. I was given a voucher for free airfare as I live some distance away (more than a five hour drive). Not bad, two visits in the span of just over a month, all for free.

I'm looking forward to these, as well as final decisions from the rest of my schools. Meanwhile, I keep plotting my finances for the next few months (it'd be easier if my roommate had paid me anything since September!) and how much debt I can get rid of. I also started planning a Vegas trip for early July. Prices for airfare and hotel are under $500 for a five-day trip, which is excellent. 138 days to go!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

General Updates and Thoughts

I apologize, this may be a post that crosses many subjects...

Having been waitlisted at two schools, with one admit and two more decisions pending, I'm starting to wonder about choices and decisions. UNC and Georgetown will notify me of my updated stats (either Admit, Deny or Remain on WL) on March 23rd. Duke notification is March 9th. My UCLA ding comes March 26th. My Wake Forest decision must be made by April 1st. Here's the quandry: If I get accepted to UNC or Georgetown, I won't know about scholarships (if there are even any at that point) until after my decision is due to Wake Forest. Is the full ride worth passing on UNC or Georgetown? Does leaving school with zero debt mean more than possibly better career prospects? All things to consider...

I think I've settled on a final date to quit my job, baring something else happening (buyouts being offered, getting laid off, etc.). June 30th will be my last day (145 days away!) and it can't come soon enough. The environment at work has been pretty bad given the state of the new company and the economy. 6k jobs will be gone pretty soon, and there's no indication where they'll come from. I plan on moving to my new place in early August, giving myself the month of July to relax. I've decided I want to take a trip somewhere. I may have company but there's a good chance I'll be going alone. Any thoughts on where to go for a week, spending around $1k?

Other than that, it's pretty much Business As Usual. The Dean at Wake Forest called me last night to invite me to Scholars Weekend, a school-funded event that brings together the top scholarship perspective students. It sounds like a good time and I look forward to meeting some fellow admits there.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Waitlisted at UNC

Another day, another waitlist. Checked my status when I had a free moment and UNC has offered me a spot on the waitlist. They will evaluate me with the other waitlisters and R3 applicants with notification coming on March 23rd, the same day as Georgetown's notification.

This is putting me in a difficult spot, though. First, I have to let Wake Forest know by April 1st if I'm accepting. If I get in to any other school, I'll have a week to figure it out. There likely won't be any scholarship money left either, so now the question will become "Is a full-ride to Wake Forest better than accepted at another school with no money?" This is frustrating having to wait so long.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is Now The Time For An MBA?

This is a question that gets thrown around quite a bit, what with the daily news reports of the poor job market and dwindling possibilities. Business Week has posted a few stories about the difficulties with recruitment in the current economic environment, and each school has updated both current students and perpectives on the state of employment.

Now, I came across THIS thread on the Business Week Forums (they are the devil, aren't they?), where a current student at a top-7 school laments his decision to attend, given what he gave up to attend. This thread, although completely crazy, brings up some good questions.

According to them, unless you're attending Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Kellog or MIT you might as well not go. If you aren't going into a high-profile position at a brand-name company (ie, McKinsey, Bain, etc.) you might as well not go. Only those top six schools get job offers, all other schools are screwed. If you are attempting to switch to a new career, you might as well not go.

Personally, I find this ridiculous. I'm not after one of those positions. I don't care if I work for one of those companies. I'm not after a $200k salary. No, I'm not enrolling at a top six school. Yes, I am attempting to switch careers. No, I'm not kept up at night wondering if it'll all be worth it. I *know* it'll be worth it. For me.

I'm not going to B-school to "hide from the economy." I started planning this well before markets tanked and banks started crapping on themselves. I applied to zero M7 schools. I want to better myself, increase my network and life experiences, learn some new skills, get a better job. If I get the dead-center average for my target profession, I'm still doubling my current salary. I've never gotten to study abroad; now I can. There are a thousand reasons why I want to get my MBA, and I'll be damned if I let a few cautious stories scare me. Sure, it may be tough, but it'll make it more rewarding.

Sometimes I think people get hung up on names. Do you mean to tell me that the only way to make an MBA worthwhile is to go to Harvard or Chicago and work for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs? I'm sorry, I'm not picking up what you're putting down. I've got my reasons and I'm perfectly content with it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Long and Quiet Time

Boy, the MBA blogosphere sure is quiet these days, especially on the applicant front. Where is everyone? It seems before the new year I could check Hella's list and always see an update. Now it's almost always just Clear Admit or Accepted and maybe another blogger. Wake up people! This is the time to talk things through, make some decisions, vent frustrations. I know waiting stinks, but that's no reason to go silent! I rely on you!

I've started formulating what I want to say in my Georgetown waitlist letter. Accepted had a good three-part idea. First, write about what you've done since applying. Then, address a possible weakness. Finally, reaffirm your fit. Sounds like a very solid plan and I can certainly touch on all three points. I already have my manager working on a recommendation for me. March 23rd is just so far away though. And without significant scholarship money I don't know if Georgetown will ever happen.

UNC decision is coming up next Monday. Wee!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wake Forest Welcome Package

It arrived! Woo! DHL picked it up from the Worrell Center yesterday and it was here (well, at my mom's house) this afternoon. It's pretty basic, nothing too crazy (they already gave me a travel coffee mug when I was there for my interview/visit). It has a very nice spiral-bound book of information on the school. More targeted info for CMC, financial aid, the area, etc. It also has a sizeable amount of information on living in Winston-Salem and the Piedmont/Triad area of North Carolina. As I lived there for almost three years, I'm pretty familiar with the area, but it was very nice to get it as its been over four years since I was last there.

I know Wake Forest-Babcock isn't the most well-known program out there, but it feels good to accomplish this. I know Wake Forest is a great fit for me and I'll be happy there. I'm still waiting on the rest of my decisions, but if I get dinged from the other schools, I won't hang my head in shame or think twice about attending.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wake Forest Visit Recap

Gotta love 10-12 inches of snow falling in 24 hours. I love Ohio.

Early Saturday morning I woke up and made the 90 minute drive from Charlotte to Winston-Salem for Showcase Saturday and my Done-In-A-Day interview at Wake Forest. I gotta say, it felt odd to be back on campus, but in a very good way. It was like I had never left. Checking in was interesting, as there was no folder with my name on it! I was scheduled to attend the Seat At The Table event Friday evening but wasn't able to make it; talking to the AdCom apparently the miscommunication led to me name being removed. A quick bagel and orange juice later, we were ushered into a room to start the festivities.

First up, a welcome speech by the new dean, formerly the CEO and Chairman of PepsiCo, Steve Reinemund. He told us why he decided on coming to Wake Forest after retiring, his vision for the school, his background, etc. He opened it up to Q&A, and before you knew it we were thirty minutes behind schedule! I loved what he had to say in regards to the future of the program and I think it's on the right track to gain in prominence. Wake doesn't need to get better at what it does, it just needs to let people know how good it is.

After Dean Reinemund left, we had quick overviews with the AdCom, financial aid and career management center (CMC). These were very brief as we were running out of time. We then had a mock class, given by Kenny Herbst, marketing professor. Kenny is a former WFU basketball player (played with Tim Duncan) and he is awesome! I think his class sold most of the applicants on why Wake Forest rules. Very engaging, humorous, yet managed to foster some discussion amongst 30 or so wide-eyed and nervous applicants. We didn't want class to end, but had to keep moving on to other things.

We had a quick Q&A with current students, learning more about the program from the student perspective. After this, we picked up a boxed lunch and went into concentration-specific classrooms to learn more intimately about them. I was one of two guys that went into the marketing room and ate lunch with Kenny, a CMC guy devoted to marketing and a current marketing student. I liked what they had to say and the time went by too quickly. We learned just how receptive faculty are to their students. We had a quick tour (the Worrell Center isn't exactly up to par with other schools' MBA building, probably a big downside for some), then had time to relax before interviews.

Sixteen people were scheduled for Done-In-A-Day interviews. Essays are waived for those participating, though we are expected to answer them. Each interview lasts between 40 and 60 minutes with three people simultaneously. In my room I had two faculty and a CMC person. Some might find it odd that an AdCom wasn't present, but thing...faculty and students spend more time with actual students. They asked some tough questions but I felt I was prepared. Before I knew it, time was up. They said they'd start sending out status updates around 9PM. Prior to my interview I spent over an hour talking to some current students and other perspectives, just shooting the shit. It was awesome.

6:40PM, I get a call from an unknown number so I didn't answer it. I listen to the voicemail from Stacy, she says congrats and that she has more good news. She calls back a few minutes later and tells me I was awarded a Dean's Scholarship. Full-tuition scholarship, $10k stipend each year and my international trip taken care of. Awesome! I felt bad that my phone died in the middle of this conversation though! I was ecstatic and went celebrating afterwards! Woo!

Overall, I loved the visit and it'd be hard for another school to match that offer. Wake is a fairly unknown power, one I feel will climb the ranking soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Duke Visit Recap

I've calmed down a bit and gotten a tiny morsel of rest. Unfortunately, work isn't cooperating with me wanting to take it easy. I'm still high off my admittance though!

Wednesday, January 21st, I visited Duke's Fuqua school. Parking was a hassle, as the lot they told me to park in was closed, so I parked at a visitor's center far away and walked back. The guy checking students in said the lot was really open and gave me a pass to go back. Oh well. My interview was at 10AM with a second year student. We had a good conversation, nothing out of the norm. After I mentioned my work with the Humane Society, she asked me to educate her on shelter animals and why they're a good choice. It put me on the spot!

I had a break between my interview and lunch/tour, so I moved my car then went back to the building. There were other first year students there, just answering questions and shooting the breeze with other potential students. I'd say there were about 20 other people there. The group was pretty diverse and nice, I had a good time talking to them. Our tour started very late, as the student host never showed up. We were eventually led to the cafeteria, grabbed some food, then took an abreviated tour. I sat in on an operations core class after that. It was interesting, though as we hadn't read the case it was a bit over our heads. There also wasn't much discussion among students, mostly just answering direct questions.

Overall, I'd rate the facilities as amazing. The building is absolutely gorgeous; I could see myself sitting in the Fox Center doing work and drinking coffee. After class I headed back to Charlotte. Total driving time: 5 hours.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Admitted at Wake Forest

I'm way too tired to blog about my Duke visit or the whirlwind tour of Wake Forest. I've spent 24 hours in the car the past few days. I'll give details tomorrow. But, I got a formal acceptance call yesterday around 6:30. Further, I was offered a Dean's Scholarship. Essentially, full tuition, $10k stipend each year, and they'll pay for my trips abroad. Awesome deal, one that will surely complicate any future acceptances (no chance I get this deal from any other school!). I'm happy, excited, nervous, and tired all at the same time.

Let me just say this...having an admittance in my pocket makes me feel a thousand times better.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Very Tired

Just got back from Winston-Salem. Tuesday: 8 hours in the car. Wednesday: 5 hours in the car. Today: 3 hours in the car. Tomorrow: 8 hour drive home. Ugh. The good part is I've completed my visits to both Duke and Wake Forest. I will have write-ups for both once I get home and unwind a bit. The Done-In-A-Day experience was a good one, one others will hopefully enjoy hearing about!

Anyways, I'm off to let loose some steam. To all the people I met at Duke on Wednesday and Wake Forest today, good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Carolina Bound

Tomorrow morning, I head off to North Carolina for the second time in 30 days or so. I'll drive to Charlotte from Cleveland on Tuesday, wake up early Wednesday morning and drive to Durham for an all-day visit to Duke (interview, class visit, tour, lunch with current students), then back to Charlotte. Thursday is my only free day. Friday I have a dinner for Wake Forest so I have to drive to Winston-Salem, then back. Saturday I wake up very early, drive to Winston-Salem, and do class visit/tour/lunch/reception/interview at Wake Forest. The bad news: that's a ton of driving. The good news: I will have a decision from Wake Forest that day. I'm looking forward to this experience, as it's fairly unique among MBA programs.

More bad news: the weather on my drive will be awful. Now, I've made this trip a thousand times over the years. Yet I have never had to drive through the mountains of southern West Virginia and Virginia during snow before. I'm definitely a little nervous. I'll be leaving earlier than I had originally planned to compensate. It figures, the time I want to visit, Durham is expecting a high of 20 degrees and an 80% chance of snow. Knowing North Carolina they'll shut down the state!

Even more bad news: OmneGirl won't be making the journey either. A work issue has come up and her vacation time was cancelled. I'm definitely bummed out that I have to go alone, and I know my brother's girlfriend was looking forward to having a female visitor for once.

I'll try and blog from the road. I'm very much looking forward to both visits. As I did Wake Forest for undergrad I'm very familiar. The Done-In-A-Day event is something I'll definitely give a full recap of, as I don't think anyone knows what it is really like. Until then, happy hunting (welcome back, BSG)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Wait List Strategy

The snow needs to stop. Seriously, it's getting ridiculous. Over 10 inches this past weekend, and it just keeps on comin'! Anyone wonder why most of my schools are in warm weather locations? Sheesh.

While I was at first upset then happy about landing on the WL for Georgetown, I have now come to terms with it. Last year, Georgetown waitlisted 300+ applicants and eventually offered admissions to 100+. That's a mighty fine ratio for someone in my position, factoring in those who took themselves off the WL to take a spot at another B-school. I had until February 1st to notify the Waiting List Administrator (such an official title); I sent in my acceptance notice at about 5:15PM!

So, now it's time to develop my strategy for getting off the waitlist. The status letter gave some options on what to send: 1) Updated GMAT score; 2) A third letter of recommendation; 3) An additional essay highlighting personal/professional changes/experiences since applying.

1) Updated GMAT: I don't think this is very necessary for me, for several reasons. I would need to submit this score by March 16th, leaving just about two months to study. I got a 680 the first time I took it, which is right inline with other admits/WL people. Marginally improving my score won't make a difference. If I retake it and get a 710, will that really make the difference? Also, this score will only apply to Georgetown. Is it worthwhile to spend the two months and $250 to marginally improve my chance? Not an efficient usage of time or money.

2) 3rd Letter of Recommendation: This is a definite. I have already spoken to my new manager (I got a new manager in August 2008) and he is all about helping me. I had my previous manager and another colleague write the first two. I've already put together a packet of information for him, and he said he could get it out the door either this Friday or early next week. Awesome!

3) Additional Essay: They provided almost no guidance on this one, in terms of length or format. Just a basic prompt of describing professional or personal changes or experiences. Well, since I applied back in November, I have been promoted and given a title, been put on a very select team to basically solve the ills of the department, been put in charge of training an additional team member, and survived a buyout. I also want to use this opportunity to reiterate why I want to go to Georgetown.

So, that's my strategy. I'm reaching out to people on the various clubs I'm interested in to gain more insight. I am also talking to an alumnus, the only person I know who went to a top 50 school. Hopefully these all pan out for me and I get an offer. I would like to know if offers for us on the WL go out on March 23rd, or anytime between now and then.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waitlisted at Georgetown

When the calls started going out this afternoon and my phone was conspicuously silent, I knew it wasn't good. Shortly after 5PM, I get the status update email. I login, breathe, and click the link. Waitlisted. I had prepared myself for a ding, so I guess this is better than nothing. I'm really not sure what the likelihood of getting off the WL will be this year. I know Hairtwirler made it off the WL with a much-improved GMAT score. Maybe that's a possibility for me, though it's only two months to study. I've been promoted since I applied, so that will help, and I can do the third recommendation they suggest.

I was fearful of this decision. If I was rejected from Georgetown then odds were good that I'd be rejected from UCLA, UNC and Duke. Wake Forest remains my most likely shot at an MBA now, so I surely hope I knock it out of the park. I do wish Georgetown would provide some feedback but I understand why they can't.

Congratulations to all the Georgetown admits who got good news. Oddly enough, no one has reported a ding yet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Not Dinged by UCLA

Shocker of the century! R1 decisions went out today (well, other than the early admits they sent out a month ago) and I wasn't dinged. Or accepted. Or waitlisted. It's official, my application was moved to round 2. It's good because I know I HAVE to be the first person to submit for R2, having submitted my application on October 9th. A rogue recommender ruined my R1 chances and submitted 20 days late. Now it's a whole new ballgame. Of course, knowing what I know now I'd probably change some things on my essays.

The bad news: I won't get my official ding until March 26th. For those of you keeping score at home, I'll have submitted my application almost SIX MONTHS prior to getting a decision. Talk about a waiting game. I have pretty much given up hope on UCLA as neither my GPA nor my GMAT is really up to par with the rest of the class. It would be nice, though, living the dream out in LA.

Congrats to those that made it into UCLA Anderson Class of 2011!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Duke Submitted

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years celebration. I enjoyed the festivities with friends and family and it was wonderful.

At 4:15PM EST I submitted my Duke-Fuqua application. Phew! This one came down to the wire as I kept editing my essays. I think I put together the best possible application and hope for the best. I have to give big thanks to Vitaly for giving me some pointers, it was nice to have someone look at them who has been through the process.

So, where do we go from here? My Duke visit/interview is January 21st and my Wake Forest visit/interview is January 23rd-24th. I've got basically two weeks to prepare. The good news is that all applications are submitted and out of my hands. It was a trying experience, and I'll write about it more in depth when I catch my breath.

I know more decisions are coming out in the next few weeks. UCLA notification is January 8th. I haven't heard anything since October, so either I was pushed to R2 like they said or I'll expect a big fat DING tomorrow. Fate will see! Best of luck all!