Thursday, March 24, 2005

In a few hours Wharton R2 decisions will be released. Good luck to everyone waiting.

I remember how nervous I was 364 days ago. Thinking about this time last year made me think about a post I wrote last year. I thought I'd repost it. Good Luck y'all.

"There are a couple of threads on the S2S that express some anger about Wharton's selection process. There are some pretty bitter folks out there. And while I don't agree with throwing the equivalent of a virtual tantrum over an admissions decision, these threads (which I have chosen not to link to it will only perpetuate negativity) have got me thinking about the whole admissions process.

As applicants, I believe it is our job to use the application to provide a reflection of who we are. We need to express passionately the career choices we’ve made, what we want to be when we grow up, and how earning an MBA from ABC Business School will help us achieve our aspirations. We need to let the admissions committee know that if admitted a) we can do the coursework b) we will contribute to the school community, and c) we will be employable when we finish our two-year stint at business school.

On top of these messages, we need to express them in a way that will make the admission committee want to admit us. In other words, we need to be interesting. We need to paint a picture of ourselves that makes the adcoms say, "You know what, I think this person is pretty cool. I don't think I would mind sitting next to them at 3 AM working on a group project."

How do you do all this in a business school application? I wish I knew definitively. I believe you do it by creating themes in your essays so that a reader can walk away with a quick two-sentence blurb that sums up who you are. I think it's about showing passion, commitment, continuous improvement and development, drive, and ultimately that elusive thing called fit.

So we applicants pour our heart and soul into the application. We write incredibly personal essays. We reveal our motivations and aspirations. We reveal things that even our closest friends may not know. We reveal a reflection of ourselves. And then we click the submit button.

And then it's out of our hands.

Hopefully we'll get to interview, which will help reiterate the package we presented in our application. But once you've done that - everything else is out of your control.

So we submit.

And we wait. But it's out of our hands.

Once you've created the package, it's up to the admissions committee to determine that you fit in the class they're trying to create. They evaluate the strength of our applications relative to the rest of the applicant pool. They try to put together a class that will embody the school's culture and mission.

When rejection comes, if it comes, it hurts. Because those packages and what we reveal in them make us feel vulnerable. After all these applications are reflections of who we are and who we want to be.

But it is not the person that is rejected. It is the package, the paper image, that is rejected. It's not you it's the paper you that is rejected. But it still hurts. It still stings. It definitely blows. But it just means it wasn't meant be. At least not this year.

So you learn from it. You improve. You become better. You move on.

And that's just about all you can do."

Monday, March 21, 2005

I lost my cell phone (my only phone) somewhere in New York City.

I think it may have fallen out of my pocket in a cab. All I know is some absolute total LOSER used my phone to call twice to some place in Brooklyn. No attempt to find the owner - just "woo-hoo free phone call!!" I have half a mind to call the number the person called and cuss them out. But I know that the receiver of the call (a 13 minute call I might add) didn't use my phone - the loser phone finder did. It is SO tacky to use a found phone like that. Loser.

So I had an interview today. Not sure how it went. That's my last live lead, so I have to stir up so more leads so I can have a job this summer. I hate looking for a job. It takes SO MUCH time. I will be so happy when I have a job.

The last quarter of the year is off to a roaring start. This quarter we have a major marketing project with out learning teams. It's a simulated market (SABRE) where we compete against five other teams and we have to make marketing strategy decisions to optimize profits. We will be evaluated on how profitable we are in comparison to other similarly situated teams throughout the first year class and the executive MBAs in Marketing Strategy this quarter. Even though it's a lot of work, (we spent about 7-8 hours on the project this weekend) the project is pretty interesting and it's the most fun project we've worked on this year. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how we do in the first round of the simulation.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

When the local news in Houston reports about the HBS / Apply Yourself hoopla, you know the story has reached a whole new level.

So HBS decided the peekers get an automatic ding. Word on the street is that MIT, CMU, and others are taking a similar approach. The ad com reaction I admire most, however, is Stanford's. Stanford basically knows who peeked. They have asked those people to identify themselves and explain their actions. There's a couple of reasons why I like this approach. 1) it gives the applicants the benefit of the doubt - you know, innocent until proven guilty and 2) it recognizes that applicants are human and that one mistake should not keep a person out of business school. It's what you learn from the mistakes you make that matters. Stanford is giving these applicants the opportunity to shine and rise above adversity. That's pretty damn cool.

My heart goes at to those who were automatically dinged. That really sucks - especially since I keep hearing stories that wives/husbands followed the link. It seems unfair to punish these applicants without giving them a chance to defend themselves. Hell, even Saddam Hussein got a chance to defend himself.

I guess curiosity does kill the cat...

(Just saw this link one the BW and had to laugh - Free the HBS 119!!)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I feel like such a dork. Everywhere I turn I find ways to apply some of the lessons I've learned so far in school.

At the post office today, the line was almost out the door at 1:30 pm. Around that time they added another clerk to serve the line. Because I forgot something at home, I left and came back around 3 pm and the line was still out the door. Well, then OPIM started running through my head, and I started trying to figure out how to cut the wait time. I kept watching the door to estimate interarrival time and paid attention to the average service time. In the end of the day, a discussion with one of the staff members helped illuminate a possible cause to the longer than average line. (My theory: today the passport fee went up $12, so demand for passports increased significantly yesterday. Because that service takes a longer time than other services and there were more people than normal, the line was VERY long yesterday. Because of the extra long lines some customers were lost yesterday (hello Erlang loss!!) and flowed over to today. The post office will probably have long lines for the rest of the week. If some one had anticipated the increased demand for passports, and added extra staff to handle it - wait time for the rest of the week would be better.)

And then I found myself quoting my law professor when someone tried to insist that because there is no written contract - we don't have a contract. Umm not true, I told them but I said I would send them the fax they requested. (The person didn't like when I told them that - they said I lacked "civil respect." WTF is civil respect?)

And then there was the article in USA Today yesterday that was about the ramifications AT&T merger with SBC. The article talked about how AT&T used the media to appeal the public to get a fee waived on their calling cards. I immediately started thinking about the media interest framework presented in our public policy class.

So I think it's official. I'm a total dork. But I think its cool that some of the stuff we're learning has real life applications.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Thank GOD for Spring Break.

With the rough recruiting season, and a couple of exams in recent weeks that THOUROUGHLY kicked my ass, I'm VERY glad to get a break from the hallowed halls of Huntsman. It's weird to think the class of 2006 is 3/8 of the way done with our Wharton experience. It's starting to feel like it's going too fast.

The latest scandal in the MBA App Blogosphere has been QUITE amusing. For those not in the know, apparently the Apply Yourself software that MANY of the b-schools use for business school apps had some sort of loophole where the crafty applicant could see change the URL and see her/his application status before the notification day.

The scurry to see the decisions early prompted HBS to post this statement on the BW. (And for more info on the brouhaha check out Clear Admit's series of post for the blow by blow- thanks to bskewl for pointing that out ). The sad thing is that if you manipulated the URL, you might have screwed yourself out of admission. Many of the school's are throwing around terms like unethical, hacking, and tampering.

I don't know how I feel about that. I doubt the people who checked early even thought about the ethical consequences. I remember how anxious I felt during the admissions process last year. I remember checking all kinds of sites to get any tiny piece of information. The schools could lessen some of the anxiety by having more transparent admissions process. Some of the schools affected have these black box processes. You send your application in and then nothing for three months until DING. Maybe applicants would be less inclined to peek early if they had more information about the process.

How much would it suck to get dinged for looking at your status a few weeks early? Is it unethical to check one's OWN status early? While the schools are managing the process, it is YOUR application, right. Isn't it a reciprocal process? Don't both the school's and the applicant own the outcome? I just think the schools in question should approach the idea of denying admission because of this carefully.

Would I have looked early if the same thing happened last year? Probably not. But not because I would be concerned about ethics. I never open my Christmas Presents early and in my experience peeking early has always lead to bad news, like bad peeking karma or something. But would I think that someone who peeked was an unethical future business leader? I don't think so. I guess I just don't put peeking at one's application status on the same level as the things like misrepresentation, lying, stealing, etc.

Anyway, it's been interesting to watch. I'm glad I'm not one of the peekers!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I had my first 3rd quarter final today in BPUB or as I like to call it "Law and how to get around it by distracting those pesky activists." (And people wonder why so many MBAs get involved in ethical scandals - but I digress...)

BPUB has been one of the more challenging classes this quarter. Not because the material is difficult to grasp. It's because the profs raised the bar a bit. This group of professors is NOTORIOUS for brutal cold calls and the exams were closed book. Now closed book exams are just not done at Wharton.

I have mixed feelings about the approach. I HATE memorizing stuff (and frankly with the invention of the printing press and all I fail to see the point - hello! that's what books are for...) Higher expectations can lead to better performance from students - I definitely expended more effort once I realized our Prof's expectations were higher. But if the bar is perceived to be too high, people give up. And with DIP occurring this quarter and people stressed about the job search it was easy to give up. I just don't know if raising the bar achieved the desired results.

So that final is down and I only have one more to go on Thursday evening. I've been lucky this year because my hardest exams are always saved for last. I have OPIM on Thursday. I'm glad I have 2 days to study for that one. Me and OPIM don't get along very well...

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