Saturday, February 28, 2004

As I reached the apex of the bridge headed towards the Holland Tunnel, the sun was beaming, the sky was blue, and Lady Liberty was just off to my right standing proud and tall. As I gazed on the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan, I felt a wave of emotion, mixed with nostalgia for times spent in New York with my family when I was a kid and with a sense of all we all lost on September 11th. And it all reminded me how tough New Yorkers are. And that feeling, that raw New York feeling is very much like my experience at NYU today.

My expectations were wrong, and my day at NYU rocked. The students are laid back and they have a demeanor of coolness. All of them seemed to be having FUN. The facilities and faculty were on par with the other programs I visited. At lunch, I sat next to Professor Cabral, who is the head of the Economics Department, and he talked about Game Theory and other Econ stuff, which was fascinating for Econ/ Policy geek like me.

The interview was very laid back. A Stern alumna, who had a nonprofit background, interviewed me. She had read my file before my interview so the questions were specifically tailored for me. The questions included the obligatory Why^3. She also asked what I would contribute and to describe a team experience. She did press me on a couple of issues. Nonprofit organizations don't recruit at Stern, so she asked how I planned to find a job. (I answered that I have an existing network in the nonprofit sector.) She also questioned my quantitative abilities since I'm a nonprofiter. I was surprised by this because my last two jobs (including my nonprofit one) are very quantitative. I do financial analysis now, and my last job involved modeling and discounted cash flows, IRR, and NPV calculations. In undergrad I was a TA in finance, financial accounting, and managerial accounting. I've never had anyone question my quant abilities so I was surprised by this question. I believe I handled it well. Apparently, NYU uses the interview to address any concerns they have, so I'm glad I got a chance to tell them my skills that may not be evident by looking at the surface of my file.

The admissions people were super cool. One thing that was really impressive was the information packet they had for me. It had information on clubs that they thought I'd be interested in based on my background and interests. Also while I was waiting to be interviewed, one of the admissions people was talking to me, and he knew my file and knew I was into nonprofits when I told him my name. It made me feel special, and that is something I haven't experienced at any of the other schools I've visited. It made me realize that if I attended Stern, I wouldn't just be a number. They would know who I am. And that's pretty damn cool.

And of course one of the major selling points about Stern is that it is in the heart of New York City. And not the touristy part either. Stern is in Lower Manhattan where actual New Yorkers live. One of the reasons I like Stern, is the opportunity to live in NYC. I would love to live in Manhattan for a couple of years. But I'd have to get rid of my car; New Yorkers drive like CRAP.

All and all, it was a good day. So add Stern to my list of schools I'd be totally happy to attend.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Tomorrow morning, I'll get up at 4:30 AM to make my way to NYU. It's going to be a very looong day. Saturday is the only day I get to sleep past 5 AM so, I'll probably be cranky all week. Woe be to the one who crosses FMG next week.

Right now, I hate to say it, but I'm a little turned off by some of the school's actions. So my expectations are a bit low. Hopefully NYU will shatter some of my perceptions this weekend.

On a side note, congrats go out to Joey on an acceptance to Kellogg! Woo hoo and welcome back!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Went to the dentist today and found out I have to get a root canal next week. Whoopee.

I'm starting to worry about my UT application. It's been three weeks since I interviewed. Texas has rolling admissions so people have been getting acceptances 2-4 weeks after their interviews. What if I get a ding? Even though I'm totally in love with Wharton, I recognize that it's somewhat of a long shot. I haven't seriously considered the possibility that I may not be going to school in the fall. I need to develop a Plan B.

I know! Maybe I'll apply to the Apprentice II. I'd be much more entertaining than some of the yahoos they have on there now. There's only one week left to apply though. Hmmm, I wonder if the app includes essays asking the applicant to pontificate on what matters most or how appearing on the Apprentice will help them achieve their 15 minutes of fame. Perhaps all these MBA applications have prepared me for my true calling - becoming a semi-celebrity on Reality TV!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I want to send a shout out to Mark and Jie, the new kids on the MBA App Blog Block. Thanks to Chunky Pitbull and Harry Potter, I read this blog for the first time today. First of all, welcome to the fold. But I have to agree with Chunky, however; your good fortune is somewhat nauseating - but in a good way! Can't help but be a bit envious. But since you are a Texan (and a Houstonian), you get extra cool points from me.

I've been trying to be more motivated to prepare for my NYU interview this weekend. I'm still a bit miffed by their insistence that people interview on campus. It gets me all riled up - it's seems so unfair to international students. But a girl who puts all her eggs in one basket is a girl who ends up with egg on her face. From what I'm able to glean from the BW Forum and from the interview reviews on accepted.com, the questions should be pretty standard. NYU interviewers have seen your application, so the questions are more tailored to your background. I've also read that they may ask Why NYU over Columbia. Now that's another point in the inferiority complex column if you ask me. I didn't even apply to Columbia, and I have no clue how to answer that question. Columbia wasn't even on my radar, so I wouldn't be able to compare the schools. I plan to answer the question by focusing on why I like NYU and will not focus on Why I don't like Columbia. I think the crew over at NYU needs to reassess a bit.

And shout out to Jeamish, a Wharton R1 admit. Hopefully, like you and Hella, I will soon join the ranks of the Whartonites.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I continue to receive Stanford's monthly newsletter, despite getting the big ole ding from them. Getting that newsletter is like getting one of those mass, "my life is perfect here on the French Riviera" Christmas updates from an ex-boyfriend. I'll have to unsubscribe to that thing.

In my life, I have sometimes been blessed with limited choices. Whenever I'm overwhelmed by choice (which can happen often since I'm quite indecisive), the field of choices seems to diminish so that the right path for me becomes clearer. I think that's what dings do. They make the right path more evident. Without dings, some of us may choose a school that we think is right - and we might ignore the perfect fit. So though they can hurt a bit, I think dings can be good for the focus and direction they bring.

And speaking of indecisiveness - apparently Naveen was poking around in my archives and found my initial feelings about Wharton. I was turned off by an adcom who told me, "We encourage those pursuing nonprofit careers to work in for profit companies for a couple of years to pay off loans." As I told him, I was able to talk to some alums who worked for nonprofits, and current students, all who pointed out resources (like the Loan Forgiveness Program) I was unaware of. And I ultimately decided, that if I want to work for nonprofits, I can, no matter what someone else thinks about the salary prospects of my chosen profession. Plus, the more I learn about Wharton, the more I like the school. And applying to business school is an evolutionary process. I've added schools that I never considered when I started this process and eliminated schools that I thought I would definitely apply to. And I'm a girl; changing my mind automatically comes with the package!

Friday, February 20, 2004

I'm a big winner!! I filled out a interview review on accepted.com's site and I won $10 from Amazon.com. Woo-hoo! It has been a very weird week!

I'm a little annoyed by NYU. They seem a little inflexible there. With few exceptions, they require all of their interviewees to schlep to NYC for an interview. It's not that big of a deal for me because I'm on the east coast, but I can imagine this requirement could be a real hardship for some applicants. On the BW Forum, I read a post from someone who had visa issues and NYU still wouldn't budge. That seems extreme. I get that they need people to show commitment (especially with a 50% yield) but what if someone works in Bumble and doesn't have the resources to fly half around the world? And I'm a little ticked that I got an email on Wednesday telling me I HAD to interview by next Friday. That's not even two weeks notice. What if I had been on vacation? I think it's a bit tacky. The inflexibility just screams inferiority complex.

If NYU were a person I could complain to, I'd say, "Hello, NYU being a hard ass hasn't helped your yield, now has it? Maybe your inflexibility turns people off."

Inflexible hard asses....

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Let the guilt begin. I had my annual goal setting meeting today. Much of the discussion centered on how much supervision I would be able to provide an MBA intern this summer. Even though I'm not in anywhere yet, it was all I could do to blurt out, "Please don't make any major plans that hinge on me for the summer." Oh well - que sera sera. I guess it's prudent to make plans like I'm going to be here. And I'm determined not to give more than a months notice. But even if I don't get in anywhere, I have every intention on leaving. I believe my life will start anew one way or another this fall. Hopefully it will be in business school.

Some of the MBA Bloggers got sad news from Wharton today. I know all of y'all will end up in great programs this fall. And I completely understand how you feel. Good Luck with your other outstanding apps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I got a bit of a shocker when I checked my email today. I got an NYU interview invite. I don't know why I was so shocked. I guess I didn't expect NYU to want to interview me. After the terrific time I had at Wharton, I'm not as excited about NYU. I will have to fix that attitude, I know, before my interview - you know what they say about eggs and one basket. But I'm not a very good liar. I don't know if I'll be as enthusiastic about NYU as I was about Wharton during my interview. The interview is on campus, so I'll get a better feel for the school and the culture. Maybe I'll like it as much as the other schools I've visited.

Good Luck to all the MBA bloggers still waiting on Wharton invites (Naveen, Luvshack, Trip, and Techie) - Hope y'all get good news.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

My day at Wharton was awesome. I'm surprisingly tired, but still very excited about the school. I started my day in the MBA Cafe and chatted with some current students. I spent some time with DH who helped me with the mock interviews.

At 12:45 I had my interview. I'm pleased with my performance. There was one point I forgot, but I think I can sneak it in my thank you note. It was a pretty laid back interview focused on getting to know me. The questions were pretty standard, the Whys, talk about teamwork, leadership, resume walk through, etc. The questions on this post on the S2S are a good place to get practice questions.

After my interview, I observed a class on Macroeconomics and Public Policy with Professor Abel. The class atmosphere was suprisingly laid back. People were eating, drinking, and came and went freely. The class was reviewing for an exam tomorrow (which will be open book, open note, AND open laptop - school sure has changed since I was there last!). I understood everything until they started talking about consumption smoothing. All I could think was "huh?" One thing I did walk away with was if the government wants to stimulate consumption, it should give tax breaks to those with limited or constrained borrowing capacity. Who would that be? Lower income people - the people who the most recent tax breaks ignored for the most part. But I digress.

I followed up my class with part of the info session (I was late - sorry Alex!), which was run by Alex Brown, the omnipresent adcom on the S2S. I can now replace the virtual voice that I heard in my head with his real voice! Three students came in after Alex left and answered questions. And my way out of the building I saw someone who I went to undergrad with.

So it was a very full day. I was able to talk to at least a dozen students, and most of them have jobs and internships lined up already. The students were extremely friendly and very laid back. None of them took themselves too seriously. As always, they had this air of humility that you don't find at many business schools. It was really refreshing. The whole experience made me want to attend Wharton even more. Now all I have to do is wait for decisions on March 25. I'm hoping for good news!

Today is the big day. I'm heading down to Wharton for my interview. Last night I slept like a kid on Christmas Eve. I'm excited and anxious. I feel very prepared because of the mock interviews. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Wharton rocks.

In my search to find the MBA program that I will fit into the best, I have never encountered such a welcoming, embracing, and helpful group of people. Every student, administration person, and alum I have come in contact with has been extraordinarily gracious and outreaching. Yesterday I did a mock interview with a first year student (Thank you so much DH!). She is willing to spend significant time to help a complete stranger. I just have never met a group of people quite like the Whartonites. And they are so genuine with their help - they seem to really want you to achieve. It means a lot to me. It makes me really want to be a part of that community.

I am so glad I'm working with this student to do mock interviews. One area I always struggle with is coming up with concise examples of leadership and teamwork from my work experience. It is not that these situations do not exist; it's that since leadership and teamwork are not a formal part of my job description (I typically work alone) I have to be creative with how I answer the question. I just need preparation. If I can have 3-4 little stories about leadership and teamwork, I believe I'll be set. I can handle the Why and other questions.

And the mock interview brought a couple of things that I wasn't aware of that need to be eradicated. I say (and write) "I think" all the time. It's grammatically incorrect - I know this but I still say it! And the "likes" - I use like A LOT. I'm going to consciously eradicate these to phrases from my speech. I think, like, now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've been feeling very guilty lately because I haven't told my bosses that I applied to business school. Hopefully in April I'll have a couple of offers in hand. But I still won't be able to tell my bosses. You see, they have this plan for lay-offs, and I fear telling them in the Spring that I'm leaving could get me an immediate one-way ticket to the unemployment office.

But at the least, I thought I would resign in May, and give like a 6 to 8 week notice. I work on a major project that usually takes place in the summer that's really important to the field I work in. The organization would be really stretched without me.

But everyone I know who knows I've applied has screamed, "Don't you DARE give more than two weeks notice!! Do you want to get fired?" And logically I know they are right. No one is irreplaceable - not even your friendly neighborhood Future MBA Girl. The organization would be stretched, but they would get the work done. It would happen without me. But I just feel wrong about only giving two weeks. While I won't be burning a bridge, I feel like I'll be putting a big ole pothole in with that short a notice.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm feeling guilty NOW, given I haven't even gotten in to any business schools yet. But who would FMGirl be without the angst?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Buses seem to attract crazy people. On my way to the dentist, two seriously deranged individuals got on the bus and ranted and raved for 20-30 blocks. All I kept thinking was, please don't let them start talking to me. 9 times out of ten - the crazy talkers plop themselves next to me and start rambling. Yesterday I was spared - perhaps because God knew I was headed for the dentist. Dentist + Crazies would have been totally unfair.

My Michigan application went complete over the weekend, so all my application materials are received and accounted for. I read on the BW Forum that both NYU and Michigan like to interview their consortium applicants themselves, so I may have two more interview invites to be anxious about. I'm not that nervous about Michigan and NYU because they are not my top choices, but nonetheless, interview invitations would be a positive sign about my candidacy overall.

I also read on the BW that I could hear about UT in the next weeks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'll feel MUCH better once I have at least one acceptance in hand.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I'm sick and heavily medicated today. I feel like everything I perceive is on 5 second delay. But Nyquil is good....

My NYU application is under review. I feel like everything is falling into place. I've been working on applications since August, and for the first time, I finally feel as if progress is being made and that I may actually be at a business school somewhere in the fall. It feels kind of surreal. Even though I did all this work to do the applications, I guess I never really thought about the major life change coming my way (hopefully).

And thanks go to Naveen (you've got more than one reader!), Hella (hopefully I'll join you as a Wharton Matriculate), and Karma_Junkie (I've recently discovered the goodness that is aloo-gobi. If you visit Philly for Wharton, be sure to check out Cafe Spice for good aloo-gobi) for the shout outs.

Alright I believe I am due for my next dose of Nyquil. Nighty-nite, y'all.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I had my UT interview today. It went MUCH better than my first try. It seems UT has a standard set of questions. 1) Why MBA/ Why McCombs/ Why now? 2) Tell me about a professional setback. 3) Talk about a group experience. 4) What is your strong/ weak point? I knew the questions ahead of time (thanks to the BW Forum and my "practice" interview in November), so I felt like I sounded more coherent and articulate this time.

My alumni interviewer was very good. Unlike my November interview, he asked lots of follow-up questions and seemed engaged in what I had to say. The hardest question was the "Talk about a group experience" question because I was at a total loss of what they were trying to gauge. The question was way too open ended. On the strong point question, I answered something that was obvious and he followed up with, "Well what is your strong point that is evident by your resume?" My answer to that follow up was a lot better than my original answer. He did a really good job of getting a multidimensional picture of me. My interview took about 45 minutes.

So all in all I'm pleased with my performance. I only have to wait and see what the verdict is. Hook 'em Horns!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I think I need to see a psychiatrist. Now instead of checking my email with a feeling of anxious anticipation, I check it with a feeling of anxious trepidation. I keep thinking I'll find an email from Wharton that says, "Whoops we made a mistake. We don't want to interview you. We meant to sent that request to the other Future MBA Girl."

I know I'm over-reacting to my interview invite. After all Wharton interviews like 40-50% of its applicants, so I had an almost 1 in 2 chance. But I'm still excited. After the Stanford ding, I was full of self doubt. This interview invite erased all that. Even if I don't get in, I'll at least feel like I was worthy.

But the best thing about the interview invite is the increased productivity. I don't feel compelled to check my email, S2S, or the BW Forum every 15 minutes so I'm actually able to get work done. Which is a good thing.

I'm going to try to pop into the Wharton Chat tonight. It's at 6 PM eastern for those who are interested. It's a great place to get any questions answer as well as, well, chat! Very relaxed atmosphere.

Okay, I must get back to work, and make up for all my past underproductivity...

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Okay - I'm going to stop whining now. I GOT MY WHARTON INTERVIEW INVITE!!! Alleluia! Woo-hoo. One step closer. What a relief! Back to work! (And I still hate Punxsutawney Phil.)

I hate Punxsutawney Phil. 6 more weeks of winter? Baa. Humbug. Who's idea was it to get weather prognostications from a rodent anyway?

This whole admissions thing can do a number on your self esteem. I'm starting to feel a bit like the girl in school who is never asked to dance. This whole process reminds me a bit of elementary school. You see in Texas, along with learning a years worth of Texas History, we're all taught to square dance. Never learned any geography, but square dancing - check! So every year in elementary school we spent an entire grading period learning how to do-si-do, promenade, and "swang your partner round n' raaa-und." It all culminated into this big square dancing fest were we dressed up in western clothes and showed off our square dancing skills. This experience was not traumatic because of the hedious western costumes that we were required to wear; it was traumatic because as the only minority in my grade at school, I never got picked. Ever. So I always got paired with the kid who picked his nose or some other mentally unstable outcast. It sucks when you don't get picked.

I kind of feel like that now. Like the girl that never gets picked. And yes I know its not over yet, and yes I know good things are yet to come. I just wish the good news would hurry up and get here. I just wish somebody would pick me.

And I hate Punxsutawney Phil. Stupid rodent.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I feel like a gambler at an Atlantic City craps table every time I open my email. Come on Wharton. Come oooonnn Wharton. I'm trying not to be obsessive. I still check my email and my status about 5 times a day.

My consortium application went complete - woo hoo. I am so glad, because I was getting a little miffed. I still haven't received any communication from them. It's like I sent in my application and all communications went dark. They haven't sent anything to the schools yet, but I'm sure that will happen in the next couple of weeks. From what I hear you have to actively manage this application by making sure the schools get your information, so I'll follow up with them in mid February.

My UT interview is this week. At least one school thinks I'm interview worthy! I think I know the standard questions, so I feel well prepared. I hope my performance this time will be better than my mediocre showing last November.

On a ve-ery side note. Watched parts of the Superbowl yesterday. The last five minutes were the most exciting. I'm glad it wasn't a one sided shut out. Those types of games are bo-or-ring. Received a bit of a shock at halftime, though. All I could think was, "Did I just see what I think I saw?" And turns out that why yes, yes I did. Scandalous! Who knew when we all sat done to watch a football game, we'd see a striptease as well? I think it was totally on purpose. I don't care how much people deny it. If it was an accident - then why did Justin tear at her clothing (mind you the line he sang before the breast baring was "Gonna have you naked 'fore the end of this song.")? Why did it neatly rip away? Why was Janet wearing fancy nipple jewelry? All I know is if it looks like a duck then, well you know the rest. So if it looks like a nipple then.... Scandalous!

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