Tuesday, December 30, 2003

So I'm in hyper essay mode. I want to submit my Wharton application a few days before the January 8th deadline, so I have about a week to get it together. Both of my recommendations have been submitted, so it just comes down to the essays. I think the essays are in decent shape, but I still need to refine them.

My consortium essays still need A LOT of work. Because I have to submit so much of that application offline (including a stinking picture - what's up with that?) I should finish that package by January 10 to ensure the package gets to the Consortium office by the January 15th deadline. (This is because I'm cheap and would prefer to send the package priority mail instead of Fed Ex.)

So basically I have a little over a week to finish everything. (!!!) So some cuts need to be made. That means no admission consultant - I don't have enough time, and my essays aren't in a place where it would be useful exercise yet. AND I won't be applying to Michigan, Darden, or Tuck. I don't have enough time to craft a well thought out essays for these schools, and I'm not totally sold on them yet. So for this year (and let's hope there's no next year) I'm only applying to Stanford, UT, and Wharton. Maybe if I feeling inspired and fluent, I may eek out a Michigan essay - but it's a weak maybe. I may apply to UNC in their fourth round, but I'm not sure yet. If I get into any of the three schools I'm definitely applying to, I'll be happy.

I guess I know what I'll be doing on my days off this week....

Friday, December 26, 2003

Merry (belated) Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2003

As the holiday season creaks by, I am becoming more and more resigned to the fact that I may not be invited to interview at Stanford. Starting today the GSB will be closed down until Jan 5 (see their website). If R1 decisions are to go out by January 21, I'm guessing the last interview invitations will go out the first week of January to give people at least one week to set up an interview. With the holiday closure - that means one more week on interview invitations.

So I'm questioning the strength of my application. Admitting me will not drive up the school's average stats (it won't make them drop either). I think my profile fits into the school, but what if my application wasn't outstanding enough to be one of the few that warrants an interview request? The estimate is that Stanford will interview about 30% of its applicants this year. So if I don't get an interview I'll feel like I'm not special enough to be one in three. And that's a tad bit depressing. My entire life I've risen to the top, it'll be tough to deal with the rejection of no interview. I'm trying to stay positive. Afterall, there is at least one more week of interviews to go out, and hell, SOMEBODY has to get those invitations, right? I might just be one of the lucky ones. And even if I get an out and out ding from Stanford, I know it doesn't mean I'm not good person - it will just mean I'm a good person who won't be going to Stanford. (I think there's something to be said about the mercy of the early Wharton ding!)

So instead of focusing on self-doubt, I'm trying to create the BEST R2 applications I can. I still have my essays to do. And I'm thinking of using my consortium application to apply to Darden. The one thing that makes me a little wary of Darden is one of the main reason of student pride is that they work harder than anyone else. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with hard work. One reason I'm applying to top tier schools is because I like an academic challenge. That being said, I think doing work for the sake of saying you work really hard is asinine.

Oh and let me just say, Alex Brown, Tanniah H, Fanatical Fan, and the rest of the Wharton S2S crew have the patience of Job. It's amazing how many people will ask the SAME question on the SAME thread that someone JUST asked. I find myself saying, "geez they JUST answered that." I think I'd be a bit more snippy than they are. But I guess this patience and the transperancy of the admissions process are some of the reasons I'm slowly falling in love with Wharton (and isn't slow love better than a crazy fast lust-fest?)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

It has been a super crazy week at work. I had so many deadlines flying at me, I had little time to devote to my applications.

I did get a chance to do an evaluation with Graham at Clear Admit. He was extremely helpful, and he helped to assure me that I'm not insane to apply to some of the top schools (hanging out on the BW Forums can erode your GMAT esteem!). We went over my resume and my goals. Graham's a Wharton grad so he told me a bit about his experience, and pointed me to a few people that I could speak to about admissions.

I'm seriously thinking about using an admissions consultant for my essays. My Stanford and UT essays were reviewed by some critical friends and family, but I think the timeline is too tight to rely on them this time. So I might use a consultant. But I'm not sure yet.

Wharton R1 decisions come out tomorrow at 9 AM and the S2S Board is all a tizzy. I sincerely hope we don't see behavior like that seen from of the R1-no interview dingees. That was ridiculous.

No word from Stanford. It's somewhat pitiful the number of times I check my email everyday hoping that I will see an email from Stanford. I actually resorted to sending an email to myself to ensure my email account was working. And of course it's working.

My "gut feeling" about an interview request wasn't so far off though. I have an interview tomorrow for a new job. The job sounds really interesting, and I'm well qualified. I'm not sure how I feel about starting somewhere new when I might have to leave in seven months. But then again I might not get into any schools and if I pass up on this opportunity AND don't get in anywhere, I'll be VERY pissed at myself. Oh if only I had a crystal ball...

And thanks for the shout out, PowerYogi - I'm honored!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Oh, and I'd like to thank Joey Stark, a fellow applicant, for the shout out on his blog. To quote the League of MBA Bloggers, "Joey is a military applicant." Thanks for defending our country and ideals (and thanks for the shout out!).

The wait will be over soon for Wharton Round 1 applicants who had interviews. The word on the S2S Board is that R1 decisions will go out a few days early on Friday Dec 19 at 9 AM eastern. Good Luck to all the applicants.

This morning, I had a strong gut feeling that I would receive a interview invitation from Stanford. And it turns out that my gut was dead wrong. *sigh* - maybe my gut will only be off by a day... or two... or three...

One of my Wharton recommenders submitted her recommendation today, and I was shocked! (Shocked, I tell you! Shocked!!) I'm used to recommenders submitting stuff at the last minute, so this was a whole new world. My other Wharton recommender will be finished before Christmas because she'll be out of the country, so the only reason my application will get bumped to R3 is if I don't get my essays together.

I reviewed my Wharton essays this weekend, and to be blunt, they suck. The drafts focus too much on the story of my experiences and not enough on what I learned from those experiences. I'm also having a bit of trouble with the word limits. I like to create vivid descriptions, and I like using words liberally. It's hard to do that in 250 words or less.

I still need to draft my consortium essays. I've created outlines, but I still need to create the meat. I feel a lot closer to being done, so I'm not too stressed. I'm pretty confident that my applications will be done by the new year. Here's hoping I stay on track.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I think I might need a 12 step program to stay off the BW Forums. I try to stay away, but they just keep sucking me back in!

One of my recommenders has asked for an outline for her recommendation. I am having the hardest time drafting this. I feel award talking about how excellent I am. It's taking me more time to put the outline together than it took me to develop my first draft of my Wharton essays. I'm going to work on the outline today, and then send it off. Writing so much hyperbole about myself makes me feel like I need to go to confession to do penance for the sin of pride.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It seems Tuck Early Action decisions went out today. Congrats to all that got in. I really like Tuck. The admissions people call all the people that get in. Kristine Laca, the director of admissions answered an email I sent in less than 24 hours. She also signed (with a pen!) a note that came with the glossy brochure Tuck sent. The attitude of Tuckies rocks!

If only they could do something about all that damn snow...

Oh and I'd like to thank Graham for the shout out on Clear Admit. For those who haven't seen this site, Clear Admit is an admissions counselor. They offer a lot of resources online and their site is a great place to get admissions news.

Last (but certainly not least - well, not really), Why I like University of Michigan's Business School.

Once again, its one of the top schools in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes publication. I especially like that many of the core classes integrate "social responsibility" principles into their curriculum. And I like that the social responsibility themes go beyond ethics. Another aspect I like is the Multidisplanary Action Project, AKA "MAP." MAP gives students a hands-on experience in businesses around the globe. It's like a medical residency, but for business students. Students choose what type of project to work on and some students have worked with nonprofits in the past. I also like UM's orientation program, the Leadership Development Program. This program includes working in some of the distressed communities in Michigan, like Detroit, in an effort to inspire "global citizenship" among its students. Michigan has extensive course offerings, particularly in Business Economics and Public Policy. UMBS also has a Loan Forgiveness program and several internship funds. I think the Nonprofit and Public Management Center may send some students to DC to study Business and Public Policy during the summer before summer internships, although I couldn't confirm it.

Beyond the plethora of stuff for nonprofits, I really like the schools innovative and empowered atmosphere. I DON'T like that it snows crazy amounts there - which may result in me not applying there. For now it still on my list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

In the interest of equal time, I thought I'd write about why I like Stanford (even if they still have asked to be graced with an interview with me - at least not yet).

Why Stanford- Their Public Management Program is awesome. I like that you can a certificate in nonprofit management. Stanford's Center for Social Innovation also has some great research on the field and is full of resources (check out the "Stanford Social Innovation Review"). Stanford's Loan Forgiveness program ROCKS. There are no caps on the amount forgiven, and you can apply as soon as you start working in the nonprofit sector. Stanford also has an internship fund (interestingly the salaries earned by those using the fund is almost 50% greater than what I make now. ) The school is well connected with the "venture philanthropy" world, which is similar to the work I'm doing now.

And did I mention the weather? I've almost met my lifetime quota for snow, so near perfect weather would be a welcome change. The class size is also appealing. Not so big that I might just be a number, and not so small that I might be joining a cult ( Much love to the Tuckies :)- don't worry if it weren't for all that damn snow, I'd be right in Hanover drinkin' the kool-aid with you ). And they have a Texas Club, and what's not to love about that?!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Well, it’s been 3 weeks since I received my under review email from Stanford and still no interview request. I know I shouldn’t give up hope but as the time wanes on, I begin to question the viability of my candidacy. I’m not stressing yet, but if I don’t hear anything in the next two weeks, I’ll start preparing myself for the mighty ding.

More about Wharton’s nonprofit program: Although some of the admissions people were discouraging, I think Wharton has a pretty good nonprofit program. The Beyond Grey Pinstripes listed Wharton as having "significant activity." Also, Wharton's website has a comprehensive outline of their Social Impact Management Initiative (Thanks to Alex for providing a link ). Their course offering is extensive, and they have A LOT of social/mission extracurrics. The Business and Public Policy major also sounds interesting. AND they have a Loan Forgiveness Program AND an internship fund.

Beyond the nonprofit thing, I'm interested in organizational dynamics and change management (I LOVE this stuff). Wharton's Foundation in Leadership and Teamwork and the other Leadership classes sound compelling.

All reasons to seriously consider Wharton in my book! Besides, I've never been one to listen to what people told me to do anyway - so I'm not going to take the advice of the discouraging admissions person. I think a foundation like Wharton could give me the skills to be successful in any field.

Monday, December 08, 2003

This weekend was all about my applications. I secured three of four recommenders. I have one other option if the fourth doesn't come through, but if I can't get this person either, I'll have to *shudder* ask my boss. (She never brought up my email faux pas, so the fact that I'm applying to schools is still unspoken.)

I plowed through the first draft on four essays. Now I just have to do eight more... Yeah. I have exactly one month to get these applications together. Wharton is due January 8 and the UT/Consortium is due January 15. It's gonna be a fun month!

I've decided not to apply to Tuck. I think its a great program, and the nonprofit concentration is one of the best. I really like the close-knit atmosphere. Tuckies seem to be one of the tightest groups out there. And I like that admissions looks at the humanity of its applicants. It seems like my kind of place.

But Tuck is truly smack dab in the MIDDLE of no where. And its in the COLD middle. I really don't want to spend the next two years of my life in a frozen tundra. So this weekend I seriously started to rethink applying to Tuck. But what sealed the deal, you ask. IT SNOWED FOUR FREAKIN FEET THIS WEEKEND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!! That's just too much damn snow.

Friday, December 05, 2003

So I've decided to eat my words.

I've added Wharton to my application list. I know, I know; I said they rubbed me the wrong way. On more than one occasion a Wharton adcom advised me not to pursue a nonprofit career right after getting an MBA. Because I'm already in the field and really want to stay in nonprofits, this really turned me off.

But I've had a lot of interaction with Wharton grads in the last few months, and they were all positive. Also I actually know several Wharton grads in my field (which is pretty obscure) so I know it can be done. Also I took a look at their recruiter list, and some of the most innovative nonprofits out there recruit at Wharton, so I've decided to give it a go.

I'm concerned about the large class size. My college only had 200 students in a class. Even my high school class was smaller than the average Wharton class. I don't want to get lost and be just a number.

But the program is solid, and the alumni network is awesome. The only reason not to apply is the $200 application fee.

So I've added an additional 6 essays and 2 recs to my list of "to dos." I'm going to try to get it together in time for the second round deadline of January 8. I know it will be tough but for some reason, I think I can do it! We shall see!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

An interlude for your entertainment (sung to the "Hello Mother, Hello Father" song)

Hello Stanford
Hello Adcoms
Greetings from a
Class o' 06 Hopeful

I applied
Not too long ago
And I'm wondering if my file will get a go.

You see this long wait
It ain't much fun
It's like watching
The path of the sun

I'm just hopin'
And I'm just praying'
You'll send an interview invite today!

Thank you... thankyouverymuch. I'm available for weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs....

Monday, December 01, 2003

I have a cautionary tale for all those who are sneakily applying for grad school like me. I was filling out one of those many online pre-applications that are part of this entire process, and it asked for a reference. So, I put down my ex-boss who left the company this summer. Well out of courtesy, I sent her a quick email just in case they contact her. I forgot that my company still has her mailbox open, and I pressed send without checking which email came up.

Now, you are probably saying, "Well, outlook prompts you when a person has more than one address, right?" Well, tell that to outlook, please! It sent the message about the reference to my old boss' old work email, and then the message was automatically forwarded to my boss. That's right. TO MY CURRENT BOSS - beyond the reaches of message recall and other fancy tools. Email can be very dangerous.

And on top of my email snafu, I have heard nothing from Stanford. Not one interview invite. Let's just hope the holidays have interfered with an expeditious interview request.

And I still have recommendations to get, and six essays to write. I will be so-ooo happy when I done with all of this...

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