Thursday, January 27, 2005

DIP week starts tomorrow and the tension in Huntsman is palpable. People are STRESSED. It's like the fate of the world hinges on getting a job this summer. Now don't get me wrong, I'm nervous. But I think I'm the good kind of nervous that gives you adrenaline highs and motivates. Being too stressed decreases one's ability to form recognizable sentences. I think that may be an important skill in interviews. Maybe, JUST maybe.

Only 50% of students get jobs through the DIP week process. And according to a second year, last year some of the Banks and other companies came back after DIP. Before the year is done, 99% of people get a job for the summer. Yes, there's a lot of pressure - I mean if I don't get a job next week I would be stressed and bummed that my recruiting season would be extended. But if I don't get a job during DIP, does that mean all the choices I have evaporate? No, something tells me, that I (and my fellow Whartonites) will be alright.

Because people are cramming for DIP, class attendance has fallen off precipitously. All of the professors have these sheepish looks on there faces like they're grateful that SOMEONE showed up to class. And that brings me to something that has me slightly perturbed. I feeling a little annoyed that we have so much operations management in the core.

Now I normally don't complain about the curriculum because even though I don't see how all the classes we take apply to me now, one thing I've learned is that you never know what skills you will use in your career. For instance in undergrad, I thought statistics was a waste of time. When I started working, I quickly realized I should have paid more attention in statistics. That was part of the reason I came to Wharton. But do we really NEED a semester and a half of operations management? Not that I don't see the value in OPIM - I do. But our operations classes all seem to have an engineering/quant feel to them. And while I know this is Wharton and I know we are all about the numbers, I just think 3 quarters of this stuff is excessive. Particularly since we have only a quarter in things like law and managing people at work. I mean, our OB (managing people at work) class was so rushed we didn't even cover things like managing diversity. I don't fault the school for being so quantitative, but I do think we could do a better job with BALANCE. But that's just my opinion. What do I know?

So I suppose, I've complained enough. Afterall, I have big, big plans to get to. I still have to go to pub AND leave in time for The Apprentice. Yes, BIG plans. I mean, a girl's got to have her priorities!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

All I can say is E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLESSSS!!! Even though I'm not from Philly, I have to say I'm so happy the birds finally made it back to the Super Bowl. I know the town must be going crazy.

I have to guess about Philadelphians' reaction to the news because I'm still in Houston. The earliest flight I could get on was at 7P tomorrow. I had a lot of things scheduled for tomorrow, but I guess during the down time I'll spend more time with family and focus on studying for class and interviews. In a little over a week I'll have my first face to face interview (I have a phone interview tomorrow). I am NERVOUS. I have A LOT to learn in the next week. Unfortunately there is a little thing called class that I have to worry about. Maybe we need a Pre-DIP week to let us prepare for DIP? At least I only have 2 more weeks of anxiety.... at least I hope and pray I only have 2 more weeks of anxiety....

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Houston trek was fantastic. We met with several banks and a couple of consulting firms. It was interesting to see the stark differences in culture as we went from bank to bank. And some of the Houston offices had cultures that were VERY DIFFERENT (I mean Stepford wives vs normal different here…) than the Houston offices. I guess that’s why visiting is so important. There were 2-3 banks I plan to pursue aggressively the possibility for a Houston assignment.

The weather in Houston was phenomenal and I must say I’ll take 75 degrees over 10 degrees any day. But it seems that the crappy weather in Philly may keep me from returning on schedule. As I write I am in the air headed back to Houston. While we were mid-air, the Philadelphia airport shut down because a plane slid off the runway (how scary would that be??) so we’re headed back. While I’m glad I’m missing the first blizzard of 2005, I do wish I was in Philly so I could get back in interview prep mode. All I have to say to people stuck in Philly – be careful of the ice! It can totally kick your ass…

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The dust has settled and the interviews are out. So far I have 6 and a half interviews (I'm an alternate for one). So I think I'm in a good position entering DIP (Dedicated Interview Period) week. Although I was bummed about one firm that dinged me - I realize everything happens for a reason. And I'm excited about the other firms I'm interviewing with. Now I just have to practice and do some research.

I'm in Houston on the Houston Trek. We're visiting a few banks, investment management and consulting firms. Since I'm originally from Houston and my birthday is tomorrow, I couldn't pass up this trip. The trek is a joint venture with Rice University. This will be my second activity with other b-school students away from Campus. It will be interesting to see how the Rice students behave. Wharton students can sharpen their elbows during recruiting events, and I can't wait to see the Rice students in action. Nothing brings out an individuals true nature like dangling an investment banking offer in front of them.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

What DOES happen to a dream deferred?

This weekend has not lead to major boosts of my self esteem. One of the banks at the top of my list decided I was not worthy of an interview. The rejection has lead my anxiety to rise to levels unseen since my business school application.

I found out through the grapevine that the interview list had gone out and I was stunned. I really thought I'd make that one. It would be nice if the banks would at least send you a ding email. As much time and effort that the IB recruiting process takes, it would be the least they could do. There's no reason for someone to find out through the grapevine that they didn't make the cut. Imagine if you didn't get dings for business school. You just heard that other people made and since you didn't hear anything you had to assume you didn't make it. It would suck wouldn't it? The European offices send out dings before they send out acceptances. That's a practice that I think the US office should think of enacting such a practice.

Given the similarity of this process to the business school process, I've begun to reflect on the lessons I learned from my dings last year. Last year I learned that yes rejection hurts but it's not you that gets the ding it's the application. I guess the same thing here: the person I presented was rejected. And another thing I learned is that sometimes choices are removed as options so that we don't make the wrong choice. I guess the same thing applies here.

It just sucks - especially when I think of the effort I put forth. Rejection sucks.

But it's not all over yet. There are still some banks who haven't made their decisions. I will continue to pray that the right opportunities will be available to me. That's all I can do really. That and go shopping for shoes tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

It's amazing how quickly my apartment converts from a somewhat neat bachelorette pad to tornado zone. My apartment is such a mess, if someone showed up at my doorstep, I wouldn't let them in. Not sure when I'll get the time to clean up.

Not only is there a lot of class work (we have to build a light - that's right a friggin' light a la 8th Grade Science Class. I hated Science Class - but I digress) but there is also a lot going on this weekend. Our Career Management Office is running an Interview Bootcamp to help us prepare for DIP (Dedicated Interview Period) week. And there's the Social Impact Management Conference at the same time (isn't funny how they picked the nonprofit conference to conflict with... I'm not saying anything, but I'm just saying).

And recruiting is in its final stretch. Thank GOD. I am starting to get stressed. I suddenly realized I had two weeks left to do my final bit of schmoozing and learn all the technical stuff. On top of that, there's this constant buzz around Huntsman Hall about closed list events and interview lists. Although I'm on the list for one of my top picks, I haven't heard from my other banks. And I heard murmurs that there was a closed list event I was excluded from for one of the banks I'm really interested in. I thought I had managed that bank well, but I suppose I didn't. I'm trying to keep my spirits up and assume the best - but it's hard.

I did have a dream about mice and water a couple of nights ago. I had a similar dream right before the Wharton R2 decision date last year. I looked it up in a dream book and apparently it meant that I was worrying about something I shouldn't worry about because I would overcome it. So I guess I shouldn't worry - it will all work out for the best.

Oh and on another side note, over the break I discovered a new source of yummy goodness. Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. That stuff is FANTABULOUS. Whenever I find it (and I must say the pickins are much slimmer in Philly than Dr. Pepper friendly Texas), I hoard it. I mean buy at least 5 bottles at a time hoard it. I love this stuff!! It's VERRRRY tasty.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Classes are in full swing again, although I have to say I am not. I found myself feeling slightly annoyed with my professors when they said we had readings to do and cases to prepare. Don't they know this week is about hearing what people did during Winter Break?

So far I'm liking my schedule. For the most part the classes were interesting (although Finance was a little slow today). What I really like is the fact that I have one class on Mondays and my Wednesdays are completely free. Tuesdays and Thursdays are booked solid, with no break, but I think its worth it to have Wednesdays off. We'll see how I feel next week.

I'm also getting back into the interview prep habit. Huntsman Hall is all a buzz with nervous questions about close lists and events. People keep asking, "who have you heard from" trying to fish out whether they have been left off of someone's interview roster. I'm not nervous yet about the interviews, although I keep hearing horror stories about what I'm supposed to know and what I'm supposed to be able to pitch. All I can do is study the technical questions, prepare, and hope for the best. I am SO happy this all will be done in less than a month. Well hopefully, I'll be done!

On an unrelated note, although I'm not one to follow sports, I've been paying attention to the Eagles run this season. I was so happy for the Philly fans because they finally got their awesome season. They all seemed so happy to actually win most of the time. And then, TO got injured. Talk about fair weather fans. All I can say is Eagles fans need a swift kick in the pants. They keep poo-pooing the teams ability to deliver. What the HELL is that about?? Where's the fan support?? Where's the faith? Since was football a one man game?? Didn't they see Friday Night Lights??? Well, y'all get no more sympathy from me. So what if y'all never win - you don't deserve it cuz you suck as fans...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

My break has been absolutely FANTASTIC. I have accomplished almost everything I set out to do, which is quite unique for me on vacation. I was able to do some consulting work, make some calls and visits to bankers, read tons of prospective student essays, and study for my job interviews in a month.

AND not only did I do all that - but I also slept. OH did I sleep. The bags that had taken up residence under my eyes seem to have take a vacation from my face. While I'm sure they'll be back next week, it's nice to look fresh-faced again.

I've also been reflecting on my first semester. Wharton constantly surprises you. One of the biggest re-adjustments was getting used to the idea of being average. Like most of my classmates, I was used to rising to the top. Before Wharton, I can't remember a time when I applied myself and I didn't excel. Wharton is challenging because you have to figure out how to master the system while chaos swirls around you. Now I haven't mastered it, by any means, but I think I've figured it out. It's all about giving up sleep. If you had told me last year that I would come to regard a night of five hours of sleep as A LOT of sleep, I would have thought you were crazy. But I've come to discover is all you really need is 3 hours. Yep 3 hours is good...

I was also surprised by the time investment banking recruiting requires. In the beginning I was spending 20-30 hours a week on recruiting. I'm actually surprised I went to 95% of the events. There were so many nights when the thought of smiling through another reception with yummy crab cakes made me sick. But I went anyway. Even when I didn't want to go, I went anyway. Hopefully, my diligence will pay off with a job. I'll know in less than a month, thank goodness.

And I completely did not manage my money well. I had no idea how often I would need to make treks up to NYC. And I didn't realize how inadequate my wardrobe was for recruiting. And I completely under budgeted my car insurance cost. Now THAT killed me.

During the spring semester, I hope to continue to work towards a balanced experience. I will work on spending less money. I will continue to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I plan to have more fun. MUCH more fun. I know it's going to be a good year.

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