Tuesday, April 28, 2009

B-School Photos and Best of Blogging

Just a quick update.

First, Accepted.com'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