App Submission - Move-In Day
Then I switched my focus away from my essay to my resume - ironically because in business school this was practically torn apart the first day. I also realized that I had to scan my undergrad transcripts and upload them into the Consortium application system. I also needed to follow up with my recommenders to remind them that they deadline was Wednesday.
Everything seemed to speed up as the deadline approached. Even my workdays seemed to go by very quickly. I decided to send my resume to my consultant at Veritas one last time with a couple of questions. I wanted to know if I should have removed a bullet point from one section in order to add it to another section. I also wanted to know what an admissions committee would think when looking at my resume and I was very very pleased with her feedback! I definitely felt confident about my resume at that point.
I’ll be honest - that I was beginning to get nervous about my essays, because I had been doing so much work on them and that I knew my grammar is not the best. If you couldn’t tell... I write the way I think. Hence the reason for ellipses...that’s where I “pause” in my head during my inner monologue. I would not feel comfortable submitting all of my essays without a final read through. The Veritas consulting package that I won in February, only covered the three Core Consortium questions, so I was left to my own devices for the other 12 essays I need to write.
I didn't want to constantly ask my friends, who were going through the same process as I was, to review my essays. They had their own essays to worry about and I was worried about the turn around. So I emailed a friend who had helped me out with my diversity conference essays. I asked her if she would like to make some money. She had just been laid off from work and was thinking about applying to Law School. She was also an English major in undergrad, so this was a godsend. Who wouldn’t like to make money right? I told her that as I finish my essays I would send them to her for review and to help me fix grammar mistakes. She obliged and I began flooding her inbox with my essays! ;-) I felt bad but that’s why I’m willing to pay. I mean it would be pointless at
this point to go through a year of all of this work to only have the admissions committee look at my essays and say “Um.. what is this nonsense?” Anything I have to do right?
A couple of days before the application was actually due, I started to pull all-nighters to refine my essays and make sure that I had all of the necessary information (resume, transcripts, etc). There were even times when it would be 3am and I was drinking coffee. Deadlines were looming and I already had one friend who potentially missed his/her deadline – which I’ve found out that for some schools is completely fine.
I was also pulling all-nighters because I hadn't been able to sleep the past couple of nights anyway because my brain just raced with all of the things that I need to get done. I knew that I was at the tail-end of the process and that after January 5th, I wouldn’t have anything to do except for maybe a couple of interviews if all worked out according to plan.
I was trying to hedge against saying on the application deadline, the day after I hit submit, "I wish I would have read through those essays one more time." or "I wish I would have triple checked my resume." When I hit submit I want to say to myself "Great job Richard... AND TEAM RICHARD"... It's finally over... now... ::looks around:: where's a shot?!
On the day that I actually applied, I wrote an incredibly long blog post to illustrate how my day went. Instead of trying to recreate that post I decided to just copy and paste it as it’s quite comical – in hindsight:
Well folks... the journey is partly over! I would like to tell you all about my day today because it was EXHAUSTING. I’m not sure how long this post is going to be, but I have a lot to get off my chest, so you may need to grab a snack and a drink.
AS YOU READ THIS... IF YOU HAVE NOT APPLIED YET... TAKE NOTES AS TO WHAT NOT TO DO THE DAY BEFORE AND DAY OF YOUR APPLICATION DEADLINE. I’M TELLING YOU THERE ARE SOME GOOD NUGGETS IN HERE.
Ok so let me just pick up where I left off. My last post was around 11:30 when I posted about my blog’s 1 year anniversary right? Yes, that’s right! At 11:30 I was still working on my essays. As I said previously, I was working in tandem with my friend who would read my essays for grammar mistakes and then send them back. This may seem like an easy plan, but when you fix one thing with grammar, it may change your original intended meaning, so then you get into editing sentences. Well sentences are part of a paragraph so...--- you get the point.
Now...multiply that by I think it was something like 13 essays. So it went like this. I would edit and essay... send it to her...and then start working on another one. Then I would send that one to her and she would send back the first one. Repeat this over and over again for 13 essays. Then once I got through all 13, I went back to the first one she sent back to me and redid that one. So we essentially went through 26 essays in one night.
I finally finished my essays and felt good about going into today only having to enter the essays into the application. Easy stuff right? HAHAHAHAHA Yeah... you’ll see. I figured I had gotten by the hard part.
I finally turned my light out at 1:15am because my eyes were closing from the all nighter the night before. At this point my computer was on my bed and I was picking up something off my floor when I see that I have a message from my friend who is also applying. (There were about 6 people on my buddy list who were all working on essays last night.) Anyway... so the message said “GET ON SKYPE I AM FREAKING OUT!”
I thought that she was just overwhelmed with everything and needed someone to talk her off the ledge. Little did I know that her next words to me would make me want to GET ON the ledge. On Skype she said something to the effect of “someone on Facebook posted that the Consortium application is due at 3am for us!” So I was like “UM.... COME AGAIN?” She’s like “yeah someone said that on the email from the Consortium it said that the application was due 12pm Pacific time. I’m like “yes that’s right... 12pm Pacific time is technically 3am for us on Thursday.” So then of course the doubt set in. I was like... ok what if I misunderstood and this person is correct? At this point I was not stressing out about it because it was 1:30 and I thought I would have enough time to input my essays. I mean I had just finished them right? Hhahha YEA...You’ll see (lmao).
She and I tried calling the Consortium phone number in hopes of someone being there, and of course no one was there! Granted it was the middle of the night, so I don’t know why we even tried. I said to myself “ok hhmm.. how cna you find out? Ok let me check Facebook!” So I go on the Consortium Facebook page and see that 12 minutes before I checked Facebook there was a Tweet from the Consortium that was filtered through the page status that said “APPLICATIONS ARE DUE TODAY - SUBMIT NOW!”
Ok so this is when I started to think that this random person was right. I then go to twitter and send a message to #cgsm asking “Does this mean 3am on the 5th for people on the East coast or essentially 3am on the 6th for people on the East coast?” I was hoping that since the person tweeted (Or they could have scheduled that tweet) not too long ago, that they might respond. But no such luck! Then I went back to the Facebook page and posted asking the same question, again hoping that someone would
respond. Again... NO RESPONSE. So I look for my friend who lives in California to check his FB status and a couple hours prior he posted “JUST APPLIED TO BUSINESS SCHOOL.”
Then I started freaking out but moreso in a pissed off manner. I thought “THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT NOW NOT AFTER EVERYTHING I’VE BEEN THROUGH!” By this time it was 2am, so I thought I only had an hour to get everything submitted. I went into the Consortium system and started filling out my
information. That was easy then I realized that my updated resume was on my work computer!!!! (insert curse words here) I was so pissed at myself. Then I remember that I had a copy in my person email. Whew!
I email myself everything because my thought is that I trust Google more than I trust my laptop. If my laptop were to be stolen, since I bring it everywhere, then at the very least I would still be able to submit my applications because everything would be in my
inbox. Anyway, I digress. Ok so I had my updated resume...I had my essays... I filled out the boxes that I could fill out....and I had my transcripts. Perfect right? Just have to upload everything.
So first I tried uploading my transcript. The day before I scanned a copy and emailed it to myself, so I thought I was good. NOPE.... FILE WAS TOO LARGE! The file size limit was 1000kb and mine was 1500kb. The only way I know how to compress PDF is with adobe and I don’t have adobe on my computer. (insert curse words here) Then I started giving up hope thinking to myself “ok I’ll just apply Round 3 but will have to write all new essays.” I then figured maybe they’ve had this problem before and I can send my transcript later...let me get my essays in.
So I open up my essay and here is my inner monolouge:
“.... copy it.... click into the dedicated box within the application and click
paste. Hhmm... it didn’t paste.... That’s odd let me try again. Copy...Paste... didn’t paste. Oh I think I’m using the wrong keys. COPY.......PASTE. I think I need to restart my computer.... ok let’s try this again. COPY PASTE... WTF IT’S NOT WORKING!!!!! Let me try typing a couple of words in the box to see if it works.... WTF WHY DID THAT WORK while the other one didn't?”
By this time it was 2:50, so I tried to convince myself that this person had actually gotten the times mixed up. By this time with the lack of sleep really really hitting me at this point, I tried to go to sleep. 2 hours later and many pillow punches, I fell asleep.
Hahaha 2 hours go by and it’s time to wake up! FML, but honestly I don’t feel tired because I’m still on that adrenaline high! So I wake up and immediately get sick to my stomach. I keep thinking the worst. What if that person was right and I’ve totally fucked up the deadline?!?! (you know it’s serious when I curse on my blog, but that doesn’t begin to describe how I felt this morning). So I get dressed....and didn’t even work on anything on the bus ride going in. Normally I look over essays or something, but I was so pissed off that I could not think straight.
I was pissed because I thought that I had missed the deadline....pissed because I thought that I would have to TYPE all of my essays into those small boxes in the application....and pissed because I was tired!!! I get to work and immediately call the Consortium and ask what the deadline is and she said today! I had the biggest smile on my face and said “ok I can do this....” in attempt to pump myself up to TYPE all of my essays. When I got to my desk, one of my recommenders came over and said “you know what’s dumb... that you can’t copy and paste from a document!” I said “YEAH I KNOW...BUT I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE I HAVE TO TYPE ALL OF THESE ESSAY INTO THE APPLICATION!”
Needless to say I was livid! I signed onto gchat and was venting to everyone on my buddy list. It’s a good thing I did that because when I asked my friend who is also submitting today, she said “No... I was just able to do it.” So then I’m like
“what? how!?!?” Then I realized... WAIT A SECOND - I’M USING CHROME! I asked her what she was using and she said INTERNET EXPLORER. So I immediately opened up Internet Explorer as well as one of my essays and the Consortium application. I COPIED.... and IT PASTED! You can imagine my relief.
Let me stop here and say that nowhere within the application did I see that “It’s recommended that you use Internet Explorer.” I don’t know what I would have done if my friend did not mention that she could do it prompting me to try in a different browser. Thankfully at work we have PCs (I never thought I’d say that), because at
home I have a Mac and there is no internet explorer on my Mac. I have Safari! I think there will be some very surprised people tonight when the deadline approaches and they are not able to copy and paste their essays. Hopefully they read my blog and see before they go through what I went through not too long ago.
Ok so... the essays were “pasteable”. Now all I had to do was copy and paste all of them.... upload the 3 Core essays... send my transcript to my friend to have her compress the file... upload the transcript... upload my nyu transcript... fill out some more personal information...upload my resume.. and fix the last part of an essay. HAHAHAH I know right? Although that paragraph sounds more crazy than it actually was.
Yeah... I was at work, but I was doing this inbetween doing work. At one point my manager came over and saw me and said “hey Richard I’m sorry to bother you but I just have a question about something.” Again...I’m blessed to have understanding people at work, although had this been the beginning of December things would have been different.
From the time I got to work, I was on gchat talking to my friends who were also submitting. I had to convince my one friend to call the Consortium to inquire about how she could submit one of her essays. She thought that she could email it and read the instructions a different way, so I told her to just call because it would make ME feel better. ;-) I knew that would work honestly... she did call and turns out that she had to submit it the same way as the other ones. It’s good that she asked because that meant that she needed to cut down the word length.
After that fiasco, the day went on and I was just fixing up things here and there... formatting essays... etc etc. Then I reviewed each element of the application about 10 times. I didn’t want to leave anything out. I must have uploaded - then deleted my core essays 4/5 times. But I got them JUST RIGHT! At this point it was 4pm! Yes.... it takes THAT long to get everything situated. And I am not an isolated case, because all of my friends who also submitted today finished +/- 30 minutes from me.
Strictly because I don’t know if anyone else felt this way and I’m not embarassed by it... I clicked “Preview full application” and then printed it out... and I felt myself get misty eyed and then had to get tissue and go to the bathroom. It had nothing to do with being nervous about hitting Submit, but was more of a release of over a year of hard work. I told my friend Brandon (osirus) that it would probably happen, but I didn’t think it would happen like that. I thought about all of the people who helped me get to the point when I could press submit and it was a good feeling.
My saga was not over yet because then yeah... I still had to pay $300 hahah. That’s how they snap you out of your fantasyland of “YES I’VE APPLIED”.. because then they’re like.. OK that’s great that you uploaded everything but can I have your money please?
So I paid my $300 since I applied to 6 schools and then was elated to see the message that I had completed my applications.
So now I should find out next week right???? hahahaha... Time to open the bubbly. I'm going to drink some champagne and edit my friends essay lolol..
I am no longer PROSPECTIVE APPLICANT - I am an OFFICIAL APPLICANT!”
After that post I refrained from blogging for a couple of days because I needed to sleep. The prior week was exhausting and I had been partying ever since! I thought I was prepared for the next component of the process – the waiting, which is really
tough. Thankfully I had built a network of folks around me because they have been incredible and I learned a lot from them from their R1 applications.
After I submitted my applications, I started meeting my friends out again. The conversations were much different now that we had applied. My friend (the one who got into Chicago) was in the city for his NYU Interview. So I met him and my other friend in the city for happy hour. Both of whom I attended NYU's Discover stern (Diversity conference) with. We had celebratory drinks for me being "done" and for him getting into Chicago, Columbia and Emory!
One thing that stuck out in my head is that he said that his GMAT journey was not over yet. One would think that after you get an acceptance that you're pretty much done, but nope not the case. He has some “conditional admits” and since he and I pretty much have the same GMAT score, I'm ok with realizing that I may have to tackle the beast one more time. It's actually the reason I didn't have a GMAT Book Burning night. I knew that this was a possibility.
It was weird going to work the following week without a bag full of GMAT books in tow. For the past 7 months or so I had always brought a bag to work with my GMAT books or my laptop so I could write essays or study, I did not have to do that any more! Even though I wasn’t working on my own essays, I was still helping friends, who were applying in later rounds, with theirs. Then I had a friend say to me "Don't forget to fax your scholarship information to Tuck." I said "UM WHAT WHAT?" So she gave me the debrief and sent me the link and yes... apparently... scholarship consideration forms needed to be faxed to Tuck by the 12th!
I looked at the information that they are asking for and it seemed pretty
standard. Income... taxes... blah blah.. then it said 500 word essay. ::sigh:: I hung my head down in shame. Now this essay is pretty easy relative to the other ones I've had to write recently so it shouldn't be that tedious, but it was just like really? Another essay?
I decided to stop trying to figure out how someone gets accepted. It was too much of a crapshoot. My friend, Ben, who I first met at the HBS event last April just told me that he was rejected from NYU. I thought his profile was incredible. I mean...730+ GMAT and a liberal arts background you would think B-schools would eat him up right?
He told me that if he put as much effort into this process as you did the outcome may have been different. In my head I said, “Well, why didn’t you?” He was not thinking about what he's going to do if he wasn’t not admitted to any schools. It's funny FROM MY PERSPECTIVE because I'm like... "If I only had a 730+ GMAT my outcome may be different!" The grass is always greener on the other side I suppose.
After I applied I began to walk myself through my essays in my head asking myself "Did I include this... did I include that?" etc. That was the worst feeling in the world because I knew that I couldn’t do anything about what I had submitted. So what I did was just tell myself that, “yes I included everything that has been coming to mind.” BUT there was
one essay that I wish I could rewrite because I remembered something post-submission that would have made that essay sooooooooo much better. But there wasn’t anything that I could do about it. Or was there?
I’ve referenced the notebook that I had started waaaaaay back in September 2009 when I attended my first MBA fair. Since then the notebook was brought to every MBA event so I had all of my notes in it. Even if I forgot the notebook at home I would transpose my notes from said event into that notebook. I knew that there was still one more part of the process that I may have to go through - INTERVIEWS. Even though I had my Consortium interview back in October, some of the schools may request an additional interview. I wasn’t upset or anything by that because I knew that I could rock interviews - more so than essays, or so I thought. With that being the case all of the things that I was thinking about post-submission, I simply wrote in my notebook. If an opportunity presented itself in my interviews for me to speak to these things then I would. This would give me extra talking points for the admissions committee to take back to the applicant review stage. Remember, I wanted to show them as many facets of myself to show that I was a well-rounded applicant.
In my non-exciting post submission life all I did is wonder what's going to happen to me in the next couple of months. I had a lot of spare time and still hadn’t fully gotten used to it. Remember, a year of this process keeps you pretty busy. So yeah I'm still getting used to "Oh I don't have anything to do."
One night I called up my buddy (Osirus) to vent. I don't remember exactly what all was said, but I do remember being very pessimistic with regards to my business school chances. I just kept hearing about all of these stories from people with better stats than mine and they're being rejected. I knew that maybe they didn't have the best essays or best stories, but when you're comparing yourself to other people you never really compare the things you did better than them. You compare their strengths to your weaknesses and ignore the rest. In my case I knew my weaknesses and hope that all of the admissions committee "get me." I feel that if they "get" the application that I've submitted, then March (decision time) wouldn’t be as depressing as I had mapped it out to be in my mind. But then again this is just a natural head game that people play with themselves after they've submitted.
Once applications were in I thought to myself, “GREAT! Now what?” As an applicant you spend all of your time from September -> December preparing to submit your applications. You kind of block out everything else in your life and just go through the motions at work because you're so preoccupied with making sure everything is set for submission.
Then once you hit submit - you and your friends just look around at one another like.. "ok now what?" Things start to get exciting when your friends who applied R1 begin hearing back, but that only lasts for so long. Then you start to get back into the grind at work but it's inevitable that a certain thought begins to creep into your mind. That thought being "What's My Motivation?" You just wrote X amount of essays trying to convince people that you want bigger and better things for your career and then after you apply to have to sit at your desk and do the very work that you basically said that you didn’t want to do. It’s a complete mind-fuck.
I knew that I definitely needed to re-calibrate and I'll bet some others out there needed to
as well. No matter how many times my friends told me (or I told them) "Oh you'll be fine!" there was really no telling how it's all going to pan out for anyone. Even my friend is nervous for his NYU decision and he was already admitted to Booth, Columbia and Emory. I kept telling him that he will be okay, but again, nothing was guaranteed.
Then I started thinking about not being admitted to business school at all. I was not looking for sympathy or anything like that but just putting that notion in my head JUST IN CASE. That's why it's important that at work it's important to not get complacent.
When I came back from my vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, Super Saturday was on the horizon. What is Super Saturday? On February 12th, Consortium applicants who applied to Michigan have the opportunity to interview at the school should they be invited. Here is the blurb from the "We've Received Your Application" email that I got from Michigan - "
Consortium Interview Saturday – Ross is hosting a special Consortium candidate-only event on the afternoon of Saturday, February 12th in Ann Arbor. More details will be included in the interview invitation."
We (applicants) should be hearing about potential interview invites within the next two weeks. I don't remember exactly when, but they did say that the invites would be sent out in waves. So after my nice relaxing weekend it was back to monitoring my email like a hawk. I still liked being in that position better than say, a month ago when I didn't even have time to think about when to go to the bathroom!!
So while a host of R1 decisions would be sent out within the next 14 days, I started thinking about potential interviews. This is just one more thing that people think about when going through this process. I wrote this in my blog:
THIS part of the process is something that not many people have insight to. I really hope that I make it to the next 'step' in this process. If I do get into a b-school I'm going to be able to share a wealth of knowledge and insight into the process...moreso than I've done thus far - trust that. HHmmm maybe I'll write a book! ;-) Foreshadow
much? Naaahhh not really. Or maybe? Um no... lol won't have time for all of that!
Let me tell you what not to do when you've applied to business schools. Do Not Keep Refreshing Your Email! - Funny that I say that even though I do it. If you do not want to make yourself crazy then check your email in the morning and then again at night at most! Do not live out of your email like I do and some of my friends do. Sure you want to be on gchat, but still... no it's not worth it and here's why.
Every time you get an email, no matter who it's from, your heart will jump. Then... god forbid you get an email from a business school, your heart will race 100 times faster than if it was just a random email. And for that split second you think to yourself "Could it be?" and then you read the Subject line and you realize it's something totally not related to your application. Usually about something the Dean of the school said or some new class that was just offered. Stuff that two months ago you may have been interested in but now you're only interested in one thing.
It's even funnier when you get an email from a school that you didn't even apply too and your heart still jumps, races, and does flips. I got an email from Columbia because I was
on one of their email lists and nearly died. Then I realized wait - I DIDN'T EVEN APPLY TO COLUMBIA!? I was clearly just overreacting, but was being real in what occurs.
That same day my friend called me and said, "My friend just said that someone in the admissions office as Ross just tweeted saying that the first wave of invites for Super Saturday would finish going out by COB (close of business) today and then would continue to trickle out." This put me somewhat at ease because I now knew that if I didn't get an invite that day it doesn't mean that I won't be invited at all. Just means that I'll have to wait a bit. No big deal right? Nope... but you better believe that I just started following that Ross representative on Twitter!
Then I started checking my SPAM folder. If you're anything like me, you have NEVER checked that spam folder because up until that point I've always received the emails that you were meant to receive and the ones you did not care for were filtered out right? So why is it that all of a sudden I thought that Google has failed me and I felt the need to check our spam folders?
Oh and this just doesn't just occur on the computer. These damn Smartphones and their email syncing and vibrating was making me go crazy too! I could be in the middle of saving someone from a fire and if my phone vibrated, signifying an email, that person would just have to wait! Every single time my phone vibrated I just had to check the email. Granted I have three email accounts that are synced with my phone so the chances of the "next" email being the one that I've been anticipating is slim to none, but when in this situation no one thinks realistically.
Nonetheless I tried remained hopeful and keep pressing on. For me I felt the most confident right when I submitted my applications. I was like YEAH MAN my applications are phenomenal and for a day or two I thought I would get into every school. It may have just been a function of working so hard and thinking that no one would be rejected after going through that. How I was feeling then is 100% different from what I am feeling now. Everyone was telling each other to stay positive and don't speak negatively, but IT hit me. What is IT? It is the possibility that I may not get into a business school.
When I said this to my friends they were like "no shut up... you're going to get in.... you submitted a great application etc etc." Now 2 days after I pressed submit I would have agreed with them, but a couple weeks afterwards I don't think it's rare for this thought to enter people's heads. Now I did not lost hope at all. Don't get me wrong... but... like I told my friends "Look at this objectively and not as my supportive friend." There is a chance that I may not be accepted to any school. Then what? The waiting is the worst because you hear about people and their profiles who applied R1 being rejected and you think "what the hell?"
Luckily I now can ask people who have been through this if this thought process is normal. All of whom said yes – it’s normal. This is the very thing that I could not understand a year ago when I was speaking with my two friends with the 680s. The waiting does something to you because you start to dwell on the weaknesses in your application. I guessed for me and everyone else who applied R2 will find out in a couple of weeks. Actually I guessed it would be in the next week or two because interview invites were starting to coming out.
I was not sure how long this feeling of potentially being rejected from everywhere lasts,
but I still felt that it was a possibility. That uncertainty is cruel and unusual granted it's very usual since it occurs every year. I was not sure if it would ever go away until March when I would begin to find out from schools. I was trying to just get my mind off of it but it's difficult actually - I'm going to say it's impossible. It was partly my own fault though. I built up such a network of folks who were pre-mbas, current mba's, and alum that those are the people I talk to every day more so than my "normal" friends. That definitely makes it tough since 2/3 groups of people I talk to are in or have been in the very position I hope to be in come August.
If I got into business school it would be the happiest day of my life. If I didn’t, then I would just start making plans on how to bolster my candidacy for the next go around. All that stuff I wrote about in my essays about Why MBA wouldn’t be null and void simply because I may not be accepted. No, it all still hold true because the topics that I wrote about were, in themselves, true.
I really hated this part of the process. It was like my life was at a standstill. I just wanted to know what's going on with regards to school so that I could continue on with my life but right now I feel like time is just standing still. I often daydreamt by thinking about how life would be at any one of the 6 schools I've applied too. I thought about walking to class.... talking to classmates and professors.... happy hours..... studying for finals....being so busy during the first semester that I wouldn't even have time breathe. I wanted to be there, somewhere, so bad and there wasn’t anything I could do about it now.
I thought back to December when I wrote a post about being “Over It’ referring to the application process. I used to think that the waiting part of the whole Getting In process would be the easiest and quite frankly I thought it would be the most fun. But was 100% the opposite. It wasn’t that I was over the waiting portion but just all of it. I hadn’t even been as active on the boards as I thought I would be because I can't stomach trying to figure out what's going on in all of the admissions offices. A.) There's nothing I can do about it and B.) see A.
1. I'm over trying to decipher what's going on in the admissions office.
2. I'm over hearing about friends who are great candidates being rejected from
schools. Yes I know that maybe they didn't write good essays or properly convey fit, but it's depressing.
3. I'm over trying to figure out if/when I will get an interview invite.
4. I'm over refreshing my email.
5. I'm over thinking about my essays and having new topics and ideas pop into my head that may have been better to write about.
6. I'm over thinking that I may/will let my recommenders down.
7. I'm over seeing GMAT material and information everywhere!
8. I'm over being bored
9. I'm over thinking about how to bolster my profile as a re-applicant
10. I'm over thinking about how much money I'm NOT going to have between March and August, if I were to be accepted.
11. I'm over thinking that all of my hard work was useless. I know that ultimately it won't be but...such is the life of someone waiting to hear from schools.
12. I'm over kicking myself in the butt for not doing better in undergrad.
13. I'm over thinking that I may have to take the GMAT yet again.
14. I'm over knowing that I belong in business school yet not sure if I will be there.
15. I'm over not knowing how to plan the rest of the year!
16. I'm over my friends asking me "Hey where are you going to school?" to which I must respond "I told you... decisions in March." to then have them ask me "What's your top choice?" to which I respond "ANY SCHOOL!"
17. I'm over correcting my friends when they say "Different Than"
18. I'm over daydreaming about life in business school.
19. I'm over not knowing what to watch on TV any more because I'm out of the loop from all of my programs.
20. I'm over hearing about everyone getting interview invites and not me. (Trust me... if I get one I'm going to become ONE of those people. I know that and YOU know that!)
21. I'm over people saying that HBS is the only business school one should
attend. Who cares?!?! YOU apply and go there! I am not! :-p
22. I'm over people saying "Oh the GMAT doesn't matter" Um... earth to everyone who says that - IT DOES!
23. I'm over having my heart skip a beat every time I get an email from any business school that isn't related to my application.
24. I'm over spending money to show a school how much I am into them or how much I am willing to learn about their school. Sh*t's expensive!!!
25. I AM OVER IT.
Now while I was over it, if things turned around and start going the other way I knew I would be very energized! But, that's the way it goes. That same day when I was “over it” was the day that the interview invites for Michigan went out.
Let's take this hour by hour:
Friday between 9-6 - the real first wave of Michigan Ross R2 interview invites went out. Initially I wasn't aware that the invites were going out on Friday, so I was just going about my day like a normal person. Then my friend sent me a copy of Jonathan Fuller's tweet saying that interview invites would be going out Friday and Monday. So naturally my heart jumped into my throat and I thought... "ok keep hope alive and your fingers crossed... maybe you'll get one today." Must have refreshed me email 25 times at first and then calmed down. Then my friend sent me a message saying "I GOT AN INVITE" so of course my heart sank yet again and then the doubt started setting in. I tried to keep hope alive throughout the day but then my friend told me that Ross interviews everyone that gets accepted even if the person applied through the Consortium. So what I think that means is that if I don't get an interview invite on Monday, then I know my fate when it comes to Michigan.
Friday between 6-8:30pm - I had drinks with my tutor and a bunch of his other ex and current students on the Upper East Side. This was a fun time and I met some very interesting folks who were in the same boat as me. Some had applied already and were just waiting for decisions to come out, while others had not. It was interesting to see the light in people's eyes as they were about to embark on the process. Boy I remember those days.
It was interesting to see the types of applicants that there were. Two of the folks I met were surprised when they received their interview invites on Friday. One got an invite from HBS the other got one from Tuck. It's not like they were surprised that they were invited to interview but they were not watching their emails like hawks and just happened to check their email and see an invite. I wish I could be that nonchalant about the whole
thing myself! But nooooo I have to be crazed and obsessed over everything. ::shaking my head::
Then I was talking to a guy who got the HBS invite and he was telling me about his "low" gmat score and I'm like... Dude I bet you I have a lower one than you do. He insisted that he had a lower one.. so I said ok let's make a bet! Whoever has the highest has the buy the other one a drink. In my head I was thinking "there's no way he has a lower one than me and got an interview at HBS." So we asked our tutor who had the lowest one and low and behold mine was lower. His was a 640 and mine was a 620. So at the very least I got a free drink out of my GMAT score!
Friday between 8:45 - 10pm - I went across the street to meet my friend who was at Turtle Bay celebrating her Ross interview invite while I sulked over not getting one lol. It served a dual purpose. We danced a bit... drank some beers.. she knocked mine out of my hand... and I gave her the side eyes... but it was all good.
Friday between 10:45 - 3am - I was down on the East Village at some bar that I don't remember the name of. I was hanging out with some of my best friends and also my friend who I met at the HBS LGBT open house last April. He hasn't been having as much this season with NYU or Tuck. Now he's just waiting on HBS and Yale. I wanted to hang out with him cuz A.) he's hilarious and B.) we need to drink because this process leads one to drink heavily in either celebration or frustration. Then he and I went to a diner by his house and I had french onion soup!
On February 7th, I woke up today feeling pretty happy. I had gotten my happy back! as per my facebook status! I'm not sure what it was that put me in a good mood but I was happy all day! There was just something in the air! I knew that Michigan's R2 Batch 2 decisions were coming out that day, but I told myself that I wasn't going to think about that. I thought that gauging from Friday's results that invites would not go out until around 2pm so I was calm until about 1:30pm. Then... I logged out of my gmail account around 2pm because I didn't want a lack of an invite to take my Happy away from me. I was on a natural high.
Then around 4:30 I had to check my email for something that I sent myself. I scanned the 6 new emails that I had and saw that one said Johnson Interview Invite. Initially I said to myself "Johnson is the school at Cornell.... wait... Interview to Invite?!? OMG OMG OMG OMG" Then I opened it... and read it and said "YES!!!" I told my coworker who sits next to me and she gave me a hug. Lol.. I know over dramatic yes... but she has her MBA so she knew what I was going through. It was nice to be able to share the happiness with my coworkers.
I then told my recommenders and they congratulated me. So now I was in a different stage of the game. Interviewing!!! So yes I did interview for the Consortium back in October and that went well, but now I have to interview for Cornell by February 18th. I had the option of doing a phone interview or going up to campus and doing a campus interview. I tsarcastically thought to myself, “HHmm let me see here... what to do what to do? DUH!” I planned to go back up to Ithaca. It was only about a 4.5 hour bus ride - completely doable in a day.
My interview was scheduled on campus for Wednesday the 16th at 10:15! I emailed my friend (one of the guys I met at the Reaching Out MBA Conference who is a 2nd year at
Cornell to see if I could crash at his place.
I would be taking the Cornell Campus-2-Campus shuttle on a Tuesday and would arrive in-front of Sage Hall a little after 5:00pm.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes now that I was invited to interview. I had been doing a lot of research. There's a lot of emailing going on... What are the emails
for? Well instead of talking to my Cornell friends on FB, I needed a more formal
venue. I just want to make sure that the things that I have in my head make sense. I also dug out the information that I received at Johnson Means Business. I told myself to keep all of that information JUST IN CASE I needed them for an interview or as a re- applicant and thankfully it was because of the former.
Around this time, I received an email from Yale SOM saying that their decisions for the round I applied would be released on February 25th. I didn't even have to say "Next month I'll find out official decisions." And more because it was now February and this email confirmed that I would find out in the same month. I couldn’t believe that the time had arrived.
At this point in time I didn’t want to complain about "The Waiting Game" per se because I understood that I have to wait. I was not anxious about decisions YET. I was more concerned with the fact that my life was still on pause right. In the new year everyone begins to plan for the Spring and Summer whether it be long vacations or short trips. All of the birthday invites and wedding invites come out etc etc. This is even the time when people start looking for new jobs and furthering their careers....but nope.. not for a business school applicant. Every sentence ends with "...well it depends on if I get into business school."
For me this is very frustrating because I am someone who constantly looks for what my next move will be in life! At that juncture I could not do such things. I had to focus on my Cornell interview. Not to say that I didn’t want to think about it because obviously I do! But I mean when I think to what my life will be like in May it was a black box. I could be either preparing to go to business school or something else. It was just frustrating for me to not know what path I was going to be taking in a couple months.
The day that I was to head up to Ithaca I went to work for about three hours. I had some things that I needed to take care of. If I had a bit more notice I would have been able to take the time off without it feeling too rushed, but such is life right? The bus was to leave from the Cornell Club in Mid-town Manhattan at 12:30 so left work right at 12. I would get to the Cornell Club at 12:15 since it's only 1 stop on the 6 train from where I worked.
When I arrived at Sage Hall I called up my host to get a ride to his apartment – which I also ended up living a couple doors down from when I moved to campus - and then do whatever and prepare for my interview. I was very excited for it! Actually let me rephrase that, I like interviews where the interviewer is not trying to stump you. I had heard of some schools interviews and yeah that's not for me - and probably also the reason I'm not going into consulting. From what I had heard the interview will be about 35 minutes so that'll give me enough time to change before taking the 4.5 hour trip back to NYC.
So you know how sometimes you just feel when something goes well? That's the case
with my Cornell interview. I remember walking out of the door to my interviewer’s office and I said in my head, “I just got into this business school!” I felt that my interview was smooth and perfect. I was cool calm and collected and was at ease the whole time.
Did I research questions that I thought I would be asked? Yup, sure did, I mean they're out there on the internet so why not right? I didn't type up answers or anything like that though. I just read through the questions and thought of stories or anecdotes that I would use. I didn't even do too much of this because I didn't want to sound too rehearsed because then if I was thrown off my game it would not have a good
outcome. People were asking me if I was nervous at all and I made sure that I was prepared to the point where I would experience a little nerves. I know how I operate and a little bit of nerves keeps me on my toes, so that's what happened.
My interviewer did not throw any curveballs at me. Sure there were some questions that I had to pause for, but that's fine because I was simply collecting my thoughts. What's my definition of Leadership? Sure didn't think I would be asked that but I mean I have my own definition and here it is. I didn't say that exact phrase but that's what went through my head. No biggie.
What surprised myself is that I was making connections to things that I didn't even know I had in me... it's hard to explain but I guess it's a function of being in a different mindset 4 months prior versus then even though I had the same story? I think my interview showed how genuine I was which is what I wanted to convey and why I'm glad I took the trip up to Ithaca. I always said that if I just got an interview I know I can do well. Which brings me to my next point...
If you can interview on Campus DO SO!!!! While I was sitting in the admissions office waiting for my interview, I heard a story about someone from Peru who flew in to visit campus, from Japan, and from India. I know the guy form India was visiting because he was waitlisted from R1 - we were sitting in the admissions office together. (He ended up being my classmate!) So there are people who are traveling from every corner (there are no corners) of the Earth, so my little measly 5 hour trip back to NYC was nothing compared to what these folks had to endure. Just keep that in mind that you may not want to take a 5 hour trip up to visit a school, but there are people gunning for that same spot that you want and they/we are taking those trips and interacting with folks at the schools.
You may think "oh... I just need to visit" well no... interact... I mean think about it... Me...someone who just left Ithaca and was in the admissions office for all of 10 minutes has heard about that prospective student who flew from Peru to visit. So people are still talking about that prospective from Peru and the one from Japan weeks after their departure. Do you think that person will be memorable?
Coming down from my high of my interview I realized that I have now entered a new – NEW - phase of the waiting game and it's worse to an extent. I'm not sure how that's possible but it definitely is. So when I spoke about the waiting game it was "bad" because I was hearing about other people being accepted and dinged from
schools. Hearing about my friends getting into schools and being dinged from schools was nerve wracking and I would think about how in a few short weeks I would be in the same boat.
NOW it was my turn! The next round of acceptances and rejections that were coming up would determine my fate and it was an odd feeling. I'm glad that I had what I thought was a good interview at Cornell, but all that means is that I've crossed one more
bridge. There were two schools that I applied to that have mandatory interviews in addition to the Consortium interview. I didn't hear from one of them on the day that I should have heard so I lost hope for that. I also hadn’t received an interview invite for the other school either. I was not even sure if they're still sending out invites. But enough about those schools. I didn’t want to dwell on potential negative outcomes.
Knowing that I was one step closer was heart wrenching. There was absolutely nothing that I could do now besides wait and THAT was the worst part. You don't know what the school is looking for once they've interviewed you especially if they do mandatory interviews. I've always told my friends that once you get an interview it's about you yourself personally. They've evaluated the rest of your application so now it's just whether or not you fit with the class profile that they're trying to put together.
I think the main reason I was so nervous now is because I know that I left everything on the table. It was funny because I was talking to one of my friends about that last
night. He said "I know that I did everything in my power to get into b-school!" I was glad that I had surrounded myself with a bunch of people who are like me in that they put their heart and soul into this process. It was nice to see that it's finally paying off for them and I hoped that in the near future we can all be celebrating as new admits and future classmates!
One day in late February, I received a call from someone at Michigan. I met this person when I was out there visiting and she's hilarious! The thing is though that I didn't save her number in my phone. So around 5pm I get a call from an area code that I'm not familiar with. Immediately my heart jumped out of my throat. Then I pick up the phone and the person says "Hey Dos Ricardo it's ______ from University of Michigan.” That’s what she called me.
But I swear that I literally saw the unknown area code... glanced at the clock.... saw that it was 5pm and nearly gagged. So then I did something very simple! I told all my friends that they are not allowed to call me the week that decisions were supposed to go out!
Then on Febraury 22nd, This happened:
I am still in shock from today's events but I wanted to share it with everyone. Out of the 200+ posts that I've made over the last year...THIS is the one that I have wanted to make. I will make another post and thank everyone at a later date, but because this is
my first (hopefully not last) acceptance I think it's appropriate that I tell EVERYONE WHO THINKS THEIR STATS ARE SUB-PAR THAT IT IS DOABLE! Trust me... that holistic approach that schools talk about? Remember what I said way back when. "If the admissions committee understands my application then I will have a great outcome." At least 1 school understood my application!
Yeah.... it's true! But this post is not about that... here's how the day went for me.
So I had a tough time sleeping last night just because I knew that I would hear about decisions today, tomorrow, or Friday. I was literally tethered to my phone all day
today. From 9 - 1pm I was jittery every time it buzzed. No it didn't buzz because someone called me but because of Facebook updates and twitter updates that get pushed to my phone. So I had to turn them off because it was literally making me sick to my stomach.
Then I told myself "ok it's 2pm... i'm just not going to even try to anticipate any phone calls...I have too much stuff to get done"
Then at 2:15 I sent a text message to my friend...
Then at 2:17 - my phone vibrates and I see BLOCKED on the screen. I said "OH SHIT" and pushed back in my chair in my cubicle. I answer the phone "Hello?" and I hear "Hi Richard this is _____ from the Johnson School."
When I heard that last sentence I started shaking and my heart jumped onto my desk. I didn't know what to do or say. To be honest I barely remember what was
said... "Congratulations this..... deposit that....." All I could do is keep saying "Thank you... Thank you.... Thank you...." I do remember saying "I'm sorry I don't even know what to say other than thank you..."
I'm usually not at a loss for words but I was at this point. What was ironic is that you go through this whole process wanting to go to a school... and then when you get that phone call from them saying that you've been accepted.. the tables are turned. NOW they want you to literally accept them and matriculate at their school! MY MY HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED! ::EVIL LAUGH:: MUAHAHAHAH.. Lol just kidding! You gotta give me that!!!
So then what happened? After I got off the phone I couldn't scream...so I did the next best thing lol.. look below. I was talking to my friend Jessica on GCHAT.
So after I typed that to a couple of people and couldn't breathe... I grabbed my cigarettes (future classmates I'm going to stop before I'm sitting next to you in class...don't
worry)... and I got my building key... and ran outside....hopped in the elevator.... went down 14 floors.... ran outside and screamed YESSS and pumped my fist! Then I called my mom haha....
After I semi-collected myself I had to go back to work because I had a report to finish up. I'm thinking to myself "how in the world am I going to focus on this report now?" But I did after sending a lot of text messages and updating my blog... Then I told my manager "Yeah I'm sorry I haven't gotten to the report but I'm going to do it now... I just got accepted to Cornell, so that's why it's been delayed." Then she congratulated me and I thanked her again for writing the recommendation letter.
Then I went back to my desk and did the report.... somewhere in there I told my Director (Kellogg MBA) that I was accepted and she gave me a big hug! Then she was talking about receiving the big binder/book full of information and stuff.... she was excited for me.
Then I emailed all of the Students at Cornell that helped me through the process whether it was just by allowing me to stay with them during JMB or telling me about the Marketing Immersion...I knew they were rooting for me. (They told me they were lol).
At the end of the day I told my VP (my other recommender) that I was accepted and she started clapping and said that I deserved it. So I thanked her too for the recommendation letter... she said "anytime". Then she's like "How are you still
here? Go home!!! Celebrate!!" Lol....
It was the end of the day anyway, so I went home. But what's odd about being accepted is that you literally want to tell EVERYONE you see... even if you don't know them. I wanted everyone on the street and in the subway to know what had just happened to me. But everyone is going about their lives and couldn't care less. I did get some ::side eyes:: as to why I was sitting on the subway train with a huge smile on my face. Shoot I didn't care!
That's my day... now I'm on Facebook reaching out to other friends to find out how they faired today... A lot of my friends have been accepted to Cornell! LOOOOVESS ITTT!!!
1 Down.... 5 more to go... I'll know about Yale by this Friday!
It was an amazing feeling to have been accepted to A school, especially the first one that I heard from. While I was still on my high from my Cornell acceptance I knew that Yale’s decisions were coming up at the end of that same week. The good part was that at least I knew that I was going to business school no matter what. That was definitely a huge load off of my shoulders. From what I had been told, some calls were being made the day before I got my Johnson acceptance, but I think the bulk of them are going to be made throughout the rest of the week. Then at 5pm or so they would probably send out the emails saying "Hey your account is updated!" and that will be for the rejections.
I was looking forward to logging into my Cornell account and seeing the official information. Then I planned to register for the Admitted students weekend, which is
called Destination Johnson. Ever since I was accepted I spent countless hours on the website looking for information about my potential business school that I hadn’t come across before. I could now resume my life and begin replenishing my
savings! Definitely going to need that since it was depleted last year. Like DEPLETED!
After I was accepted to Johnson, I still:
...had to find out from Yale.
...had not been invited to interview at NYU. Knowing that they interview all accepted applicants I still had hope alive.
...had not been invited to interview at Haas.
...had not been invited to interview at Michigan. Knowing that they interview all accepted applicants.
...had not heard anything from Tuck. I did my interview at Tuck so that cat was in the bag.
Then decision day came for Yale and I was rejected. I wasn’t even worried about it because I had already had that acceptance. It was one of those, “Your account has been updated.” Messages, so I knew what that was all about.
After the Yale rejection, I received my official letter (email) of acceptance to Johnson and saw that my Johnson binder had been shipped. I had my whole day planned out for when I received that shipment. Another thing that I did was to send the admissions committee at Johnson a thank-you note for them understanding my application. I knew them relatively well at that point so I didn’t think it was weird or anything.
Then I saw that my Johnson binder has been shipped! I couldn’t wait to get this in the mail... get some coffee and a a muffin and sit down and read every single word!! How exciting!?!? And to think my one friend has received many of these books lol. I also emailed the admissions committee at Cornell thanking them for understanding my application. I know them relatively well so it wasn't weird or anything.
Here is what I emailed them (yes, I went back into my email history to find this email):
Now that I have processed the news Sonia graciously delivered yesterday I wanted to shoot over an email formally thanking you all for accepting me to Johnson. The snippet of my third essay that referenced that call from Johnson as being the best day of my life has been realized. I am thrilled that I was able to be myself throughout the whole process and have the admissions committee understand all that I was trying to
convey! I'm honored at the prospect of attending Johnson this fall and look forward to seeing everyone again at Destination Johnson.
Now I'll stop saying thank you and let you all get back to giving other applicants the good news!
Sidenote - A couple of other accepted students have reached out to me asking if there is an Admitted Students Facebook Page. I haven't been able to find one so I figured I would ask if one existed.
I knew that I wasn’t the only one who had heard back from Johnson that week, so of course I had to find out how they fared. 6 of the 7 of my friends who applied were accepted. Of course the thought went through our heads of, “What if we all go to the same school?!?” but we also knew that it was still pretty early in the process and that the likihood of that happening was slim. However, it was a lot of fun to think about that.
One thing I never had insight to was the post-acceptance process... what goes on behind the scenes is quite exciting (nerve-wracking for me in another sense but again... more to come on that next week). There are a lot of emails going back and forth... a lot of facebooking people who were also accepted and who may become future classmates, and a lot of texting. All of this is to just keep in contact with potential classmates as well as find out from your friends their decisions from other schools. I've made a lot of new friends this way as we bond over Cornell. One person in particular is my road dog and was also accepted to Johnson. We talk all day about hypothetical situations in school.
The reason I've been busy is quite ironic. After my acceptance I had at least 7/8 people reach out to me inquiring about the Cornell interview process. I even had my tutor ask me if one of his other students could reach out to me and inquire about my interview and experience with Johnson thus far.
I also had someone reach out to me via one of the blog posts. I couldn't answer his questions because they were tailored more towards current students. So what did I do? I contacted one of my contacts at Johnson and asked if her I could put the two of them in touch. Of course she said yes, I don't think there's a student at Johnson who would be like "umm.. no don't be giving my information out!" Johnson doesn't accept those types of students...at least not to my knowledge! Which is one of the things that made me fall in love with the school.
I did get accepted to the admitted student’s site where the school posts all of the information that incoming students would need. I was also emailing back and forth with a couple of my friends at Johnson just asking basic random questions. I asked about finding apartments....about ordering food at 1am... and about the whole laptop
situation. I have a Mac and I know that in B-school it's imperative that you need the Microsoft suite and I wasn't sure if it would suffice for me to simply get the add-on for my Mac or get a new laptop which I would be 100% opposed to doing because PC's suck in my opinion.
I remember being home one night during a snow storm and I kept tracking my package from Johnson to see where it was. I wanted to receive that thing so quickly that it couldn’t come soon enough. If it was teleported into my hands, it would have been ideal.
On a Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting a potential fellow Johnson student! So my tutor, whom I was glad I would never have to use again, emailed me saying that another one of his students had received an interview invite to Johnson (Cornell) and asked if he could forward my information on to him. Of course I said yes, this was before I received my acceptance but after I completed my interview. When we met I had just been accepted.
We met at the Starbucks across from Le Cirque in NYC on Saturday. My tutor said that the two of us would hit it off and we did. It was very weird being on the other side of the table/process so to speak. He thanked me for meeting with him and I was like "oh please no problem at all. I remember being on the other side of the table where I would be wanting to meet with people who had "beaten" the process!"
I found myself asking questions that had been asked to me just a couple weeks ago from random folks. So why MBA? Why Johnson? et. al. What's funny is that any time you meet with a current student or admissions person OUTSIDE OF AN INTERVIEW they may ask "So WHY MBA?" and then follow that up with "Oh I don't mean to put you on the spot." LOL, I said the same thing, but I was genuinely curious. Then again anyone who gets to the interview stage of things definitely has an answer for Why MBA and Why School X. His answer showed me why he's not the typical candidate but would fit perfectly at Johnson. He also spoke with a passion, which is key. I was interested in what he was saying even though I knew nothing about the field he came from or wanted to go in to.
He's a very nice guy and I won't go into detail what we spoke about but we did speak for 2 hours. I will say this though... when he emailed me to see if we could meet up I thought to myself "I should tell him to bring a notebook." Then I thought, "No... if he's serious he'll bring a notebook." So that's the first thing I noticed when I sat down. He had a notebook so I knew he was serious. I'm really serious about putting the onus on the applicant. I think it's a function of me doing so much research and work that I feel that if one is truly serious about an endeavor they'll take the necessary actions to come out on top.
What was interesting was that this applicant and I have very similar stories and
MO's. So I wondered if this is the common thread that Johnson students have or if it’s just the ideal business school candidate thing. It was very warming to just be able to be bond over similarities in our MO's even though other people don't understand them. His personality was very warm and as I think about all of my other friends who have been accepted to Johnson I see that we're all very similar in that
regard. Warm...inviting...welcoming... accomodating... I could definitely see a common thread between current students and students who have been accepted. I thought to myself, “THIS is what the admissions committee is looking for when they interview a prospective.”
There may be some things in one's candidacy that they're also looking to dive deeper into but for the most part I think they're looking to make sure you're not a crazy. This prospective student is definitely NOT crazy and I hope he would rock his interview! I was actually nervous for him because I wanted him to be a potential classmate!
On a Friday in late February, I got my Johnson admissions binder. There is so much information in those. A friend of mine told my other friend "OMG this thing dictates
life!" I found that to be comical because it's true and helpful. It begins to debrief you on what you need to know now that you've been accepted. There are different tabs and such about Career management.....Housing.... Orientation...financial aid. What you think would be in the binder IS in it. Keep reading this book and you’ll get a binder of your own!
As much as I wanted to keep thinking about Johnson because I loved it so much, the
reality had set in that I needed closure on four more schools.
Because I applied through the Consortium there was still a very important part of the process that I still had to weather. There's an uber important meeting that goes down where they decide who of the applicants gain membership into the Consortium and ultimately get a fellowship to one of the member schools. THIS MEETING HAPPENS TODAY 3/1 (really tomorrow as I write this) in St. Louis! It's important because historically 70% of ADMITTED applicants have received a fellowship.
The people in that room hold the fate of many many many applicants on their legal pages and notebooks! I imagined all of the Admissions representatives from each school are just sitting in the lobby of some posh hotel downtown talking about "Hey... did so and so apply to your school?" "Hey... what did applicant X write for your essay? Did it sound anything like this?"
I'm just joking I didn't really think they're comparing applicants just yet! But what will happen when they all go into that room and get down to business is left to the imagination. The reality is simple. There were some Consortium applicants who had found out decisions from different schools and there were other Consortium applicants who had not heard back from any Consortium member schools yet. I didn’t think there was anything that one could read into that because it just varies by school. Some schools notify Consortium applicants before they go meet in St. Louis. Other schools notify after they meet in St. Louis. The truth of the matter is, ALL OF THE CONSORTIUM SCHOOLS KNOW WHETHER OR NOT WE'VE BEEN ACCEPTED.
So for me yes I applied to... Yale, Cornell, Tuck, Haas, Ross, and NYU. All of those schools knew whether or not I've been rejected, accepted or waitlisted. They HAD to know in order to be able to make a decision on whether or not to offer me a fellowship.
So while for a couple of days I had been on a high because of the Cornell acceptance the reality has set in that I need $$$,$$$ so that I could go to school! When all of the admissions representatives are sitting in that room I wished I could be a fly on the wall and just observe. It's funny (not really) because none of us Consortium applicants knows exactly how the "Draft" is facilitated. I will tell you the two ways that I think it could go down!
OPTION 1 - So we have all of the admissions reps in a conference room with their notes on which applicants they want that they've admitted. So then the Applicants name and Stats and Rankings flash up onto a screen with the list of the schools the applicant has been admitted too by ranking. (No sorry folks I'm not telling you my ranking even though the schools will know in a couple hours). So once the applicants information is up on the screen then facilitator says "Hey... School _____ Richard ranked you first.. and you admitted him... you gonna show him the money?" then School _____ says "DUH OF COURSE!" And then they move on to the next candidate and any other school who had me on their "Must GET" list would cross me off their list and then give the fellowship they had planned for me to someone else.
OPTION 2 - All of the admissions reps are in the conference room. Then the facilitator says "Ok we're doing 1st rankings first" And then they turn to School _____ and say "Ok... persons A,B,C,D,E, and F all ranked you 1st. Do you want to give any of them whom you've admitted a fellowship?" Then the school decides and they do that for all
schools. Then they move on to 2nd rankings. So then the shitty part comes when you're down in the 4/5/6th rankings and the schools don't have any more fellowships to give out.
Then on top of that, us Consortium applicants, didn’t know when we would find out decisions. Some people were saying that we'll hear the following day about all of our acceptances + fellowships. Others were saying that we'll hear by the upcoming
Friday. Some others are just saying that we'll get a letter in the mail shortly after March 15th! No one really knew and there wasn’t much insight from The Consortium so we were like lost puppy dogs.
Right before the Consortium draft day, I was fine all day at work because I was preoccupied with calming my friends down who were supposed to hear from NYU. I got out of a meeting and was walking into another one. In doing so I walked by my computer and decided to just move my mouse to see if I had any new emails. I saw that I had an email from "Decision" and then saw Berkeley. So I opened it and then read it and was like "Wow! Indiscrete much?" Then I walked into my meeting and said "So I was just rejected by Berkeley." It surprised me (not the ding) but just the letter. A.) I didn't know they were going out today. B.) I thought it was going to be something like - Check Your Account Status. But nope... lol... it was an email:
After a careful review of your application to the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission to the fall 2011 entering class."
Then I texted a couple of friends on my "Must Text About B-School List" because they were so interested in it, and they all said "Aw I'm Sorry... How are you?" and I responded "Oh I'm perfectly fine!" That's the thing about only applying to schools that you would love to go to. Once you get into one of them, if you get rejected from any others it doesn't matter mentally!
One night I found myself talking to my very good friend who got into Cornell. We're fantasizing about how we would move into school blasting J. Lo's new song "On the floor" and just start having a blast with our Johnson t-shirts on.
However, it was an odd time for me. I fully commit myself to anything that I do or that I experience. I wanted to commit to a school because I was 100% over having my life on pause. I was also glad to know that my sentiments are shared with my fellow applicants. It wasn’t even about "Oh where am I going?" it was more about "... ugh can I send the deposit and start making plans to tell work or plan my exit?" I have friends who received fellowships and know where they are definitely going to school. Me on the other hand am still waiting to hear from other schools.
I had made connections with potential fellow Cornellians and I sometimes didn't even like to say that I'm waiting for Tuck. We had fantasized about how fun it would be to be classmates and all that jazz, that they would be happy for me if I were to get in to Tuck. Plus we had bonded! I can say that Johnson students are a rare breed and I'm glad that I can count myself among one of those accepted.
I told myself that should Tuck decisions go out that week I would be ok with whatever the end result is. I'm at peace with the fact that either way I will be going to a school that I love and have made life-long friends in the process of applying. We will all see one another at the various MBA conferences and of course we have Facebook oh and cell phones.
On March 3rd, I was talking to my friend and she told me that she was accepted to Tuck with a fellowship. I knew that this could be the day for me too. Later that day the same friend also found out that she had been admitted to Columbia! I was incredibly happy for her, but was still very nervous for myself! It was this weird emotional rollercoaster. At 5:45pm I updated my blog saying that I doubted that I would be admitted to Tuck. Since I had been on the message boards all day long I saw something that caught my eye. Tuck non-fellowship admits could still be called the following week. So as much as I was looking for closure I did not get it! NYU, I hadn’t heard from but I did check my email account randomly! I was not nervous per se about an admit/rejection/waitlist but I keep checking so that I can stop thinking about it, if that makes sense. I have not thought about Yale or Berkeley since I received my rejections.
The following week on March 8th was DEFINITELY Michigan notification day. So by 4pm on Tuesday I would have closed that chapter of the story. On 3/7 the Michigan notifications went out I found out that my friend who had applied to like 10 schools had been accepted. I asked him, “So, after you’ve been accepted to 5 schools do you even get excited any more? Does the law of diminishing returns set in?”
Now, I had my book, I had been accepted to business school and I was beginning to get anxiety over the investment. It's interesting when you are going through the application process and you're soooo wrapped up in making sure that your GMAT, Essays, Recommenders, and all that jazz is tight. You always hear about the cost of tuition and what not but a lot of the time, at least for me, it was simply a necessary evil. Sure I applied through the Consortium so the chance of my receiving a fellowship was/is (I didn't even know at that point) refreshing, but as fellowship decisions were being delivered, the big elephant in the room, was becoming more and more obvious. I spent nearly a down payment on a house (in some cities) just trying to get in to
school. Essentially that's what had transpired. I was okay with it or at least I would be, but I think all applicants who are going to go through with business school and are paying for it, need to go through this mental wrestling match with themselves to fully understand what we are getting ourselves into.
I then started planning for the Admitted student’s weekend at Johnson. I could not wait to meet my potential future classmates. I was going to keep saying potential future classmates, because I had not received the final word from three schools just yet. Then I found out that the gentleman that I met up with at Starbucks who was picking my brain about his upcoming Cornell interview told me that his interview went very well. We then started plotting against our GMAT tutor (he doesn’t know this and he’s probably reading the book right now). Yes, Charles, we were plotting against you! That’s why we went to the pub that one time and made you pay! We were like, “We’ve given him so much money...”
The day after I heard from that guy doing well on his interview, I was going to be doing a mock interview with someone who became a friend after we partied it up at the NYU Diversity Conference. I actually hadn't seen him since the conference but we're
Facebook friends and talked all the time. He applied to three schools and had just recently received an interview invite for Columbia. I told him to send me his resume and that we would do a mock interview. I wanted all of my friends to get into business school so that they understood, rather than complained, when I say that I'm too busy for
things. No but actually...I really wanted him to get into Columbia. He did go there for undergrad so I knew I was going to need to come up with some more difficult questions that convey fit. I prepared him and told him that I was going to be hard on him.
That same day I would also find out if I was waitlisted or dinged from the University of Michigan. I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be an admit because I knew that those calls had already been made. I had a prediction but decided to see how it played out. My prediction was a rejection. I just had 2 more decisions to go and they could not come soon enough!
Just as expected, I received this message:
"Thank you for considering the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The Admissions Committee has thoroughly reviewed your application. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place in the Ross School of Business Full-time MBA Program Class of 2013."
There was a bunch of other stuff in another paragraph that I skimmed through but I just decided not to worry about it beyond that point. It wasn’t a concern at all. Again, APPLY TO SCHOOLS THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO GO TO! So while I was closing my Michigan notification, I was having a conversation on gchat with another friend who’s top choice was Tuck. I took a screenshot of the conversation we were having.
It’s great to be able to document when people hear about their acceptances! So again, while I was happy for her, it was already 3pm so I knew what was coming so at 5pm I was definitely prepared for the outcome. Of course at 5pm I got this message:
"Thank you for applying to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. After much thought and careful consi regret to inform you that we are unable to grant your request for admission to the Tuck Class of 2013."
In any event, I knew that I did everything I could to submit my best applications to all of the schools I applied too, so I didn’t have any regrets on that front! Plus, I only applied to schools I would love to go to, so now it just came down to waiting to hear what NYU wanted to do with my application. I knew some people had gotten interview invites from R2 today, so that was a little odd, but we would see how that turned out. I loved Johnson and was honored to have the opportunity to go there. I left nothing on the table which was my goal going into this application process!
So then I was only waiting on the decision from one more school - NYU Stern. I had not been interviewed but I had heard that some people got interview invites on Friday, so all hope was not lost. People kept asking me, "So if you get into NYU will you go there or to Cornell." The truth is that I didn't know. I never really put too much thought into the prospect of going to NYU because I never heard from them. They interview every admit so like Michigan, if I didn't get an interview I could either be waitlisted or rejected.
I was drained but I figured if I had lasted that long I could last another 15 days at
max. NYU's decision deadline was April 1st. But there were some of us who are beginning to celebrate our acceptances. We couldn’t be bothered with waiting that long. There was a group of us from GMATClub who planned to get together for some drinks. I thought it would be cool to meet these folks in person.
On a Monday I was rejected from NYU Stern. It didn’t warrant any further discussion simply because I'm over all of the rejections. So I finally have closure and was now
moving on to another portion of this process. Financial Aid.
I had mentally moved on to the next stage of the process while other friends were still waiting for R3 decisions or decisions form other schools. I then had a friend who was accepted to Georgetown McDonough. It started to get to the point where I really couldn't keep up with all of the updates of my friends getting in to schools but this one deserves a shout out! One of my friends that I met at the NYU Stern Diversity Weekend back in October was also accepted to Columbia on 3/23.
He's also the one I helped prep for his Columbia interview a couple weeks prior! We spoke for about an hour and it went really well! He said that I helped him a lot. I had simply done many mock interviews with other people and had them done to me that I got pretty good at it.
That same day I heard back from the gentleman that I spoke with prior to his Johnson interview. He texted me saying that he was accepted! I had the biggest smile on my face because I know how much he wanted it. His story was great too and I was excited that he would be one of my classmates!
Also on 3/23 I needed to congratulate my friend who was accepted to Darden. For some reason the 23rd of March was a big day for decisions. I remember that Darden was not this person’s first choice school and that person ended up at HBS.
I knew pretty much where I would be going to school in the fall so my outlook on things had changed a bit. I could now - finally - think ahead to the coming months. One night I spoke to my friend on the phone for two hours. He's the one who was accepted to Johnson recently who I met at Starbucks a couple weeks ago. We talked about everything business school under the sun. I can just imagine how any liquid medicated conversations will go between us because we can really keep the conversation
going. We're so excited!
Once I knew exactly which school I was going to I didn’t want to say potential classmates any more! So I sent out messages on our admitted student’s website and got the ball rolling on a NYC Happy Hour. We would be meeting Thursday 3/31 @ The Ainsworth on W26th. I had to call to reserve a table, but at the very least there will definitely be enough room for everyone! I couldn’t wait to meet folks!
At that meeting we were all excited for Destination Johnson, the Admitted Students Weekend, which was April 8-10! I would be taking the Cornell Campus to Campus bus yet again! I realized that I hadn’t even started school yet and I had spent $375 on commuting to and from Cornell. I was very excited to meet the people I've been emailing back and forth with who were also accepted. I had spoken to people on the phone too and would love to put a face to the name.
I was still finding out the fate of my friends but there was one that I was very happy aboutl My friend found out that she was admitted to Duke Fuqua! I know that she has been so nervous about Duke because of some prior WL and Dings that she
received. She did get another admit too so now it's great to have options. Duke was her first choice even though she got a full-ride from another school.
It's funny because at like 11am I sent a message to her on gchat asking "so when will
you find out about Duke?" She said "i'm not sure what they do..." then I went outside for 5 minutes... came back to a message that said "I GOT IN!" Then stupid me, said "kkjahfjkha to Duke?" Then realized that of course it was Duke because it’s the only school she was waiting for.
That following, Saturday I went into the city and had lunch with my tutor and that gentleman that my tutor had introduced me too, who would also be my classmate. We went to a place on the Upper East Side well... could be midtown east depending on who you ask. We met at 3pm and didn't leave until 9pm! Clearly we talked about everything under the sun. It was a breath of fresh air to meet with my tutor without having to drop any money!
That following Monday I was to have dinner with two blog readers. One is my online friend who got into Tuck. We talk everyday on gchat but had never met in person. I also got an email from another blog reader I think on Thursday who was waiting on a couple other acceptances, but had already got into Georgetown. The reader asked if I wanted to meet so we could just chat about whatever we wanted to chat about and network so I just said "hey why don't you come to dinner with me and my friend?" We were all in that phase of, “Thank god we’re going to business school.” There wasn’t any competition between us about which schools people got in to or rejected from. We all felt that we were collectively a part of a new network.
The next day I had a call with another blog reader who emailed me. He wanted to get my perspective on this application process as an LGBT applicant, so I was MORE than happy to speak with him. I think definitely a way to go about navigating the process from that angle.
On that Thursday the 31st the Johnson Admit Happy Hour at the Ainsworth at 6:30pm occurred. There were about 11 of us NYC admits who had confirmed. As more and more students gain access to the admitted student’s site more NYC folks will pop up and I would message them too. I also figured that I should also email folks in Jersey too because I'd be willing to guess that they work in the city.
The week before Destination Johnson, I got my initial loan award notification and nearly fainted! I knew that it would be coming but it was like looking at an employment offer! I mean actually... 1 year's tuition is definitely someone's yearly salary - ~$70,000! At that juncture it was more than my yearly salary. I couldn’t say that I was shocked because I knew what it would say but it's the magnitude of actually seeing your name at the top of the paper instead of "John Doe." I know some people who saw that paper and said "yeah no I'm not doing this..." For me though when I look down the road 10/15 years I need to have my MBA. And by NEED I mean WANT and anyone who knows me knows that to me.. need/want are one in the same! Therefore, I was okay with putting down my deposit given calculations in the initial notification letter.
So all of my friends right now are looking for money from schools. One thing I've seen from them is that they're able to leverage scholarships from a "safety" school to get more money out of the school that they really want to go to. This has been fascinating for me to see since I am not experiencing it myself first hand. I will say that the correspondence with schools do NOT end once you've been admitted.
I found it comical to a degree when some of my friends would get a phone call and say
"ut oh... I was admitted to school ______ with $$$$$" and then I would reply "OH MAN.. sorry to hear that." I remember one time I said to my friend "doesn't that sound
weird?" It's like "oh... sorry to hear that you just got offered $100,000 to go to school for 2 years!" We definitely had to check ourselves and put things into perspective.
I was not complaining at all, because I was still on my grind trying to find money out there. THERE WAS DEFINITELY MONEY OUT THERE! TRUST THAT. I was seeing it being handed out left and right. I just needed to figure out how I could get in the same lane. One of my friends told me about a scholarship application that's opening up and I told him that if he's truly my friend he won't apply for it because he'll be competing against me! I was half serious.
So even though I applied and been accepted I still wasn’t officially a student of the school yet. I remember on payday I decided that I should put down the $1500 deposit but there was still a crapload of work to be done! One thing that had to be done was staying motivated at work. It’s really tough to do when you know that in a couple of months you won’t be there. I thought I would have some down time between 4/15/2011 and 6/1/2011. I knew that my second deposit would be due on June 1st so unlike some of my classmates, I couldn’t stop working.
In the beginning of April I was on the bus going up to Destination Johnson! This weekend and next weekend seem to be big weeks for admitted students. I know that this weekend is Cornell, Chicago, Indiana, Michigan and some others I'm sure. I was on the bus to arrive at Sage hall. I was sitting in the back of the bus with my new classmates. All of whom I met at the Happy Hour that was organized two weeks
ago. We played cards essentially the whole time on the bus. It was fun times that we remembered throughout business school.
So Destination Johnson Weekend... let me just say that this whole business school thing, finally set in and hit me this past weekend. It was a very humbling and empowering weekend. I was glad that I got to meet many of my future classmates - who are all amazing. Like I stated in my last post, I'm not going to go into detail what all went down at DJ, but just know that we all had a blast and were completely exhausted by the end of it. I'm not sure how people can go to 2/3/4 admitted students weekends. They are so draining.
After Destination Johnson, I took a leave of absence from writing my blog because I didn't feel the need to blog anymore. There wasn't anything specific in terms of getting IN to a business school for me to blog about. But what's interesting is that I think back to all of the students whom I spoke with the prior year and they all said "once you're accepted it doesn't stop." Of course I didn't believe them nor care to digest what they were saying. I just wanted to get accepted first and then worry about the rest of the stuff. I mean what could be more hectic than applying to business school right?
Well let me tell you... things just accelerate and start going a mile a minute. You know how when you're applying to school you're just focused on the deadlines. Well now I'm focused on other things. Let me back up a bit first...
It was interesting texting my friends who were attending ASW's at other schools to get their perspectives. I had a different experience from the experiences of some of my friends at other ASW's. I think if you go into an ASW still trying to decide on a particular
school, you'll have a completely different experience. I've had so many conversations with friends about which schools they should attend... but basically tell them all that they will get that ZEN feeling when they're at the school that they are supposed to end up
at. I know it'll work out for them but in the back of my mind I'm glad that I've already been able to invest fully in Johnson since I know I'll be attending.
I will say though that for anyone debating between 2/3 schools to really take a look around at the 1st and 2nd years and ask yourself if in 5 years you'll be able to reach out to them. If you don't think that the current 1st and 2nd years will respond to you, then how do you think the folks who have been out of school for 10+ years will
respond? During DJ all of the 1st year students ended with "we will be here to help you guys..." That's very powerful as cliche as that may sound, but hey... it's true. It's also one of the reasons I wanted a small school.
Another thing I realized is that I needed to start preparing for the school year. I have about 4 applications that I need to fill out for things that will impact my first year. There's so much to do... so little time! I have to move to Ithaca in July... MBA Math is in the summer...hopefully the P&G brand camp is in the summer... Johnson Math Camp is in the summer... and then school starts!
Oh and also... the money coming out of one's bank account does not stop after you've been accepted! Just FYI for those who have depleted bank accounts. Trust me... it's tough. I feel like I need to take out a loan just to pay for the stuff leading up to business school. Unfortunately, I won't be able to quit my job in the next couple of weeks like a lot of my counterparts.
Deposit - The first thing you have to "worry" about is the deposit. Sure it's only $1500 and I definitely planned for that once I got my acceptance, so that wasn't too bad. I actually sent in my deposit before DJ because I didn't want to have to think about and/or accidentally spend that money! You know.. a crazy night out celebrating and then all of a sudden $1500 is gone from my bank account. I'm just joking though! A.) I would never keep that kinda money in an account that's linked to a debit card that I would take outtoabar! B.)seeA.
So my deposit was out of the way.. then I had to worry about making sure that the financial aid department had all of my necessary information. That was easy once I got some things sorted out. But.. then in the beginning of June there's another deposit due! Lol.... #NeverEndingStory
Housing - Then there's the issue of housing. So during DJ a lot of people found housing and roommates as I'm sure occurred at many of the admitted students weekends. I knew where I wanted to live but I didn't have a roommate. I wasn't too too concerned about finding a place to live 2 weeks ago just because I knew that there was still another round of applicants that had not even received decisions yet so I had some time before places would start being scooped up. Luckily last week I responded to a post on the Johnson social networking site and was able to hook up with a
roommate. I've been getting information over to the management company... lots of scanning... emailing.... calling.. checking... etc etc. Again not really a big deal, but just something else that needs to be done. EXCEPT... the depost. So that's another $800 that I was not expecting to shell out in April that needed to come out of my account.
I can tell you that a couple months ago I thought that once I got my deposits in... I would be able to party for 2/3 months and then just amble on up to school and start. But I go out less now because I have no money to go out!
Internships - So we touched on housing.. what could be next right? Well.. haha... so we've all heard of Internships - but no one really talks about Externships. Right now people are looking for both. I don't really know the difference per se but I could deduce some definition - but I won't. There are programs out there for students entering their first year in B-school. P&G has a brand camp... Millercoors has something... Deloitte has two things... There are things out there to keep people busy. I'll know tomorrow if I can apply to the P&G Brand camp - I may have another opportunity that I can take advantage of.
Scholarships - Another thing that people (myself included) are occupied with are scholarship applications lol. Yes there is STILL money out there to be had. I have a friend who just got 1/2 tuition from a Top 10 school after going to an event. I also have other friends who are finalists for some other scholarships. I think they're both going to be very successful! No I'm not bitter or jealous lol... maybe when I have to start making loan payments I will be... but right now I'm not! Hey... the more "Fellows" I can have in my network the better right? At least that's how I'm looking at it.
Recruiting Events - Who would have thought that recruiting actually occurs BEFORE business school? I mean I knew that in some instances, Orientation Program (OP) through Consortium, occurs in June. But I just received an invite the other day for an event tomorrow hosted by National Black and sponsored by Google and Sirius XM here in NYC. There will be recruiters from both companies there I assume, so I am looking forward to making some good contacts. Google I know like the back of my hand. I mean I deal with them everyday. I was just at the Google offices on Monday working on this new initiative for work, so I have many Google contacts. BUT - I do not know any recruiters who work there - YET.
QUITTING WORK - Unlike some of my classmates, I would not be quitting any time soon. I'd like to have some spending money before I go to school. So I will be working right up until the week before Math Camp. I'm also planning a trip to visit my friend in Michigan. He'll be doing his internship and preparing for his 2nd year @ Ross but we need to relax before school starts for the both of us.
HAPPY HOUR - I also organized another Happy Hour for us Johnson admits for the next friday!
As the new round of applicants begin stressing over the GMAT and applications for the 2011-2012 application season things started to change for me. I was reached out to by a blog reader who wanted me to read over his/her essays, letters of recs, and resume to see if I could figure out why he/she did not have much luck this year in terms of acceptance to business school.
Now at this juncture many of us have gone through this crazy application process, so initially when I agreed to read through this persons application I thought it would just make some essay corrections and send back my notes. BUT what happened was very eye opening.
When I started reading the essays I was very critical - as I always am - but then as I read more and more essays I started to compile a, dare I say it, holistic view of this
applicant. Needless to say that after three essays, a resume, and 2 letters of recs... I could definitely see why this person may have not had much luck. The two best pieces of the application that I thought were one of the essays that really gave me a great sense of who the person was... and then the 2 letters of recs. The weakness was in the "Why MBA?" type essays. I didn't feel any passion for what the person wanted to go in to.
In any event... it was very interesting for me to "feel" for the applicant after reading the letters of recs. And for applicants this is not a piece of the pie that we are able to
see. Well... I guess we could see if it we check that box in the application that we want to see it - BUT YOU SHOULDN'T! After reading the letters of recs I was wishing that the essays were more informative because then I would really advocate for the applicant if I were an admissions officer.
Then I began thinking how hard it must be for admissions officers to read through thousands of applications every year where there is one or two parts of the application that are detrimental. I almost wanted to read the essays again looking for any nuggets of information that I missed or to see if I got the totally wrong impression of the candidate the first time I read the essays. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I know the reason why the outcome was as such, but if me... a 3rd party can read through a whole application and see holes in it.. then I have to imagine that it would be the same for an admissions officer.
So friday night a bunch of my new classmates and I went to Bryant Park cafe for some drinky drinks. This is the second time we've met up for drinks. The first time it was on a Thursday and people had work the following day so it was mainly a nice meet and greet. This time we went out and could relax.
What was refreshing to me is that no one was stressed any more! 98% of us knew where we are going in the fall. There were still some others who were deciding, but for the most part we knew that in the beginning of August we will be going to Ithaca. So what were the conversations like now? Well... it was about housing... when classes will start...tuition... and when we will be moving into our apartments. It was very nice being in this position versus where I was this time last year as evidenced by this post about how I was about to take the GMAT but knew that I would have to take it again.
I still had some friends who were on the waitlist at different schools. I couldn’t imagine how they felt. I guess I didn't really have to imagine it because I have many friends who are on the waitlists at different schools. After speaking with many people who had been admitted to multiple schools and even gave deposits to multiple schools... I now realized that it was now the time when they start turning down the spots, which meant that spots would be opening up shortly!
I'm not quite sure what the protocol is for those who are on the waitlist. I had spoken to my friends and they said that they're sending updated GMAT scores, updated recommendation letters, updated resumes if they've gotten a promotion etc etc. It sounded very ANNOYING in all honesty, but then again this whole process if very annoying! My suggestion is that if you are one of those people on the waitlist - find out
what the school's recommendation is for sending updates..
For example - from what I know a school like Wharton does not want any additional information! Some people say that this is when legacy candidates come in to play and people start pulling strings and making calls behind the scenes. Now while I do not doubt that this occurs, I'm sure that the policy is Wharton's way of trying to keep things very objective. ::shrugs:: I didn't apply to Wharton so I haven't done any research.
If the school that you're on the waitlist for does want updates from you I would probably research out to current students to find out how often one should update. I mean you should never be emailing once a week because you must respect the admissions officers time. They can't read an update from every waitlisted applicant every
week. They're honestly very busy trying to get the candidates that they've accepted to enroll at their school to protect those yield numbers. The conversations my friends have said they've had with admissions folks are funny to me now whereas five months ago I would have thought differently.
So to you waitlisted applicants I say... just hang in there. May is essentially the last month that students have to turn down options. Deposits are due very soon. Although in some cases some people have deposits waived, so if they do decide to turn down a school it's not much of a loss from their bank account. You'll always have those one off instances though.
I know I've been talking about how my classmates are quitting their jobs and traveling and what not. I'm still not in that boat because I will still be working but now I'm going back to the agency side and then my last day there will be July 21st. It was a tough decision actually. Mainly because I spoke with my manager at Bloomingdales.com and we discussed me giving as much notice as possible. She knew I was applying to school... was one of my recommenders....everything was fine and dandy. Then through a friend of mine I sent my resume to this agency telling them that I was looking for a 3- month position. My background meshed with what their needs were and it worked out that I'd be making 40% more than I did at Bloomingdales.com. Not that I make any large sum of money - $54,000/yr - but given the hit that my bank account has taken over the year, I could now breathe a little easier knowing that I can enter school with some money in my savings account since it had been depleted throughout the last 2 years.
In May, my friend was admitted to Wharton off the waitlist! I know that this person had been struggling over the prospect of potentially having to decide between two incredibly great schools. It's definitely a tough call but this person could not go wrong with either in my opinion!
In May I realized that I no longer needed my GMAT books and attempted to sell them on my blog. Here is the list of the books that I had!
Random Geometry Book
Veritas Prep Critical Reasoning 1 Veritas Prep Critical Reasoning 2 Veritas Prep Geometry
Veritas Prep Sentence Correction 1 Veritas Prep Reading Comprehension
Veritas Prep Algebra
Veritas Prep Math Essentials
Veritas prep Advanced Word Problems & Quantitative Review Veritas Prep Data Sufficiency
Veritas Prep Statistics & Problem Solving
Veritas Prep Arithmetic
Veritas Prep Arguments
Veritas Prep Analytical Writing Assessment
Veritas Prep Cominatorics & Probability
GMAT 800 Advanced rep for Advanced Students
MGMAT Sentence Correciton
MGMAT Reaching Comprehension
MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Math
MGMAT Critical Reasoning
MGMAT Equations, Inequalities, & VICs
MGMAT Fractions, Decimals, & Percents
MGMAT Number Properties
PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible
PowerScore Sentence Correction
Last week I had a call with my career management coach who was assigned to me because of my marketing career interests. We worked on my resume and then had a call. I feel much better and more relaxed about OP - Consortium Orientation Program occurring at the end of June where we can walk away with our internships for next year! I know the company I’m going to target and will have an incredibly more relaxed first semester if I get an internship offer at OP.
I definitely see and understand why they say that you need to enter school with a clear vision of what you want to do. Whether it be true or not, if you’ve been accepted through Consortium it’s kind of a must. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the great opportunities throughout the summer. OP is just the beginning of it, and actually it’s not but I’ll get to that later.
There are pre-mba internship program emails flying around behind the scenes for everyone of every background. There are also multiple “camps” and one day programs that companies have throughout the summer.
There was no way anyone would be able to attend all of them because A.) it wouldn’t make sense because they’re industry specific and B.) there’s just not enough time. Like it was very tempting for me to want to attend the LGBT event at one of the banks but it just didn’t make sense. I didn’t want to go in to banking in any way, shape, or form so that would have just been a waste for me. Sure I would have been able to networking with people who will be attending b-school, but yeah not my cup of tea. Also, there is the P&G Brand camp - which I did not apply too. I can’t take off from work that many days but also, CPG is not REALLY the direction that I want to go in. Remember, I want to do Product Marketing so while they’re in the same job function classification, I want to do High-Tech.
Given that all of these events were occuring in the summer, can you imagine how many different ways one can be pulled in once school begins? I imagined it would be
incredibly frustrating and exhausting. Thankfully I wouldn’t have to go through
that. Now that’s not to say that I won’t sit in on other industry specific discussions and learn about the things that I’m missing. By no means would I let that happen, because I want to be able to have a conversation with folks who are in those industries. As it stands right now, when I hear someone say that they do (Insert Really Financ(y) related word here) my brain shuts down and I try to pick up on what they’re saying but it doesn’t work. I didn’t know any of the terminology.
What I liked about the classmates that I had met thus far - one in particular - everytime I get the glazed over look on my face I stop him and say “wait... I don’t know what you’re talking about, can you explain it to me?” and he laughs and says yes and dumbs it down for me. It’s really not all that complicated (to understand) the implementation may
be. But I digress...
The sheer logistics of moving to a new town is another reason why it’s good to enter business school with an idea of what you want to do. I have a friend who is moving to NYC and as someone who has been through that process before here in NYC IT IS NOT FUN! I did it when I didn’t really have a hard cut off by when I needed to be moved in. I moved in 2009 in January but it could have been February or March or whenever. Imagine having the deadline of school ahead of you? Yeah, I can’t deal with all that. Too stressful and time consuming.
So needless to say - HAVE A PLAN like they tell you to when you prepare to enter business school. Is this to say that everyone has a plan? Nope they don’t. I have some classmates who are already undecided about what path they want to take in business school BUT... they conveyed 1 single plan throughout the application process. So if there’s any takeaway in this whole post that would be it for new applicants - if you’re unsure about what you want to do in b-school, at least have a plan laid out in the application process.
I got the email yesterday after my first day at my new job and was very excited. Then I realized that I had a new job and may not be able to take off the time to go to CTLS in June. Then I called my friend (Osirus for those of you who know him) and asked what I should do. He reiterated that attending CTLS is a great opportunity and that it would definitely work out. I kind of knew that it would work out, but I was just 5% worried that it may not. In the end... it did. I let my job know today that I got this opportunity and they said it would be fine.
Now of course the next question that will be asked is - “What is MLT? and CTLS?” Well, I can speak to MLT as I’ve learned about it through my own eyes. I have a general sense of what it is as a larger entity, but remember - I was just nominated!
So my friends who are in MLT now have been through the MBA Prep program. It essentially prepares them for the MBA application process. It’s not just some simple essay editing and a resume review. What my friends went through is exactly what I did on my own: Visiting schools, Essay writing and reviews and editing, Resumes edits, getting to know Admissions officers... talking to current students and alum at soooo many different events. Think of what I did and extrapolate that process out to about 220 other minorities.
Many of the people in that list of my friends who are going to business school are in fact
MLT fellows. I’d say it’s about half and half according to that list. So yeah now that the application season is over and the new batch of MLT fellows have started, there’s a conference called CTLS that is for newly admitted students. Like, OP where you can only attend if you are going to a Member School and applied through the Consortium, CTLS is only for MLT Fellows, but they can be going to any school. So CTLS is the MLT equivalent of OP.
It’s from June 7th - June 11th and it’s in NYC! They put us up in a hotel and there were what they call “boot camps” everyday. The boot camps sound like industry working sessions. I chose the Marketing/Brand Management/Media/Entertainment related bootcamps. We had to choose one for each of the three days.
When I found out, I texted some of my friends who are in MLT and told them and they were like “YEAHHHHHHH BUDDY..” , “OMG YAY”, “SWEET” lol. They kept telling me to mention to my school that I wanted to be nominated for it. So thankfully, I made them aware back in March after my acceptance before I even sent in my deposit (i
think). Well that email paid off!
I would get in front of some great recruiters and get some facetime. I didn’t believe there would be any interviewing going on, unlike at OP, where we can walk away with an internship offer, but at least CTLS will be great practice since OP is two weeks later.
Now that I was freelancing at an agency and was working on a big restructure of an account so I had been putting in 11/12 hours days. I know some of you are going to say "So what? 11/12 hours who cares?" Well... that's just AT work. You have to keep in mind that I commuted 1.5 hours to and from work everyday. So that's potentially 14/15 hours of the day that I'm busy.
Aside from work there is a lot of preparation that I have to do for CTLS. The CTLS conference is from June 7th - 11th. To prepare for it we have to read some cases... attend some webinars... get our resumes in line... etc etc.
In addition to the preparation for CTLS, I had been working with my Career Coach at Johnson to get ready for OP (consortium event in Minneapolis). This includes more "assignments" ... mock interviews... webinars... et. al. This is at the end of the month from the 24th - 30th. So there's another week of June that's essentially taken up by pre- mba activities. I will say that it IS a TON of work but it WILL pay off come may!
I had also been trying to square away my housing situation. I have the roommate... did the whole credit check thing.... got approved... now just need to send the deposit check to the management office and then sign the lease. So I was trying to track down the person who sends out the leasing agreements. I also had to get a physical for school.
On June 1st, I submitted my 2nd deposit! So at the very least that knocks like 2% off of my tuition since your deposits go towards tuition. Gotta look on the bright side right? So no less than 48 hours after I submitted the deposit, did I get the email to register for Math Camp. Now I knew that I'd be going to Math Camp so that wasn't a surprise. But the cost for it was an initial shock. So I then shelled out another $600 in total for math camp and some orientation week activities. But at least now I know that there is only 1 more thing that I'm going to have to pay for and that's only $150 for the background check.
Around this time I wanted to reflect on what I was doing at the same time last year and BOY how the tables had turned! On June 15th of previous year, I was finding it increasingly hard to start studying AGAIN for the GMAT. I don't remember that day like it was yesterday but I do remember the experience since it's still quite recent. I "hated" the summer and could not wait to be in the position that I now found myself in. I'm thankful that I poured my heart and soul into the process because life now is just as hectic as it was last year. It's just a different type of hectic now.
I enjoyed the stress that I was under now and when it starts to get overwhelming, and my friends can attest to this, I say "Hey...if I could weather the stress from last year, I can definitely get through this pre-mba stuff.
Now as this 2011-2012 year's essay questions start coming out, I saw the stress that the new batch of applicants is going through. In a perfect world I would have said that I felt sorry for the applicants, but I challenged them to think of it as a barrier to entry that can be weathered. On my blog I told them to embrace the process because they can make it somewhat fun if they removed themselves from their "normal" lives. No not everyone does that but you know if you're the type of person who needs to do it in order to be successful. I was the type of person who needed to do that...and I recognized that..so I did that.
Towards the end of June I would be flying with a bunch of Tuckies and Sternies to the Consortium Orientation Program in Minneapolis. No not the flight because it's at 6:05AM but just the week in general. I'm sure I'll see 80% of the folks who I was just with last week too. Needless to say I'm very grateful for where I have come from and how I didn't know ANYONE who had an MBA to now where I'd say that most of my friends are on the same path as I am. It was very exciting!
I got back from OP on a Wednesday and let's just say that it was an incredible experience. Much like CTLS I was honored to have had the opportunity to network with my classmates and fellow MBA 13's from 16 other schools! After spending nearly 150 hours with these incredible folks I can definitely say without a doubt that I now have some new lifelong friends. I learned some great invaluable lessons in that I now know how to prepare for the recruiting season.
Since CTLS was at the end of June, I got back in the beginning of July which meant that I would be moving in 22 days to go up to Ithaca. I remember asking as friend the year prior around this time, what one does the summer before he/she starts school. It's odd being in said position, but it's definitely welcome. I will tell you that there are a TON of going away parties and "last day of work" parties. I guess that's a benefit of living in NYC and being of a part of organizations such as MLT and Consortium, because literally every other day, I see someone update his/her facebook status with "Last day of work!" or I receive an invite for "Going Away Party!" It's great to see although my wallet is taking a hit, but I feel that it's necessary to attend these parties for people because the next time I'll get to see them will probably be in October, unless of course I'm going to school with them.
Also, on the agenda was to start MBA Math. I would be attending math camp on August 2nd at school, but I want to make sure that I get through the MBA Math so that my brain
is back in working functional order. I don't think they would have suggested MBA Math had they not deemed it valuable. So... I'll do it!
So as I was sending out the Facebook invite for my going away dinner, it FINALLY hit me that I was going to be leaving my friends in three weeks. It's very much bitter sweet I tell ya. I think my friends are more prepared for my departure than I am. I remember when I went to my friend’s party last week she started crying. So when we were talking outside she was going on and on about her friends and how she didn't want to leave them because they meant so much to her and they also didn't want her to leave. I definitely understood where she was coming from because it's not that she made a bad choice in going away to school vs. staying here in the city, but yes throughout the application process your friends do mean a lot, even if you don't get to see them very often because you're always studying or away visiting schools, etc.
It may seem cheesy but it is what it is. I said to her "You're feeling this way because these people have allowed you to basically "forget" about them for a year and a half while you went through the application process and met new people, yet they supported you throughout.
So while I was sending out the invites to my "Bye Bye Battle-Baxter Dinner" last night, I got THAT feeling. No, I did not cry but I did get a little sad.
In addition to my going away party with my friends, I have a whole host of other events to attend before I move up to school. Tomorrow I have a bday/going away party for a classmate. Next week I'm probably going out for drinks with my coworkers. Then next Saturday I'm having my going away BASH! A couple friends of mine who are also going to b-school decided to throw a big going away party.
Here is the tagline from part of the invite: "We're sending a few future MBAs off with a bang!! Join Cornell, Kellogg, Stanford, Tuck and Wharton students and few honorary friends for the BBQ/Party of the SUMMER!!!" We were going to have a DJ and of course food and alcohol so it's going to basically be pandemonium (in a good way of course).
Then one night I have to have dinner with my Mother and Father. This is very much so a rare occurrence and LONG overdue. Yes I live with my mother (because I moved back home a couple months ago), but I rarely see her. And then my Father lives about 45 minutes away and I see him quite infrequently, so this will be an event. But a much needed one since I'll most likely be MIA for two years.
From July 21st - 24 I'll be visiting one of my very good friends in Michigan. He goes to Ross, I’ve spoken about him before because we met at ROMBA, and he was doing his internship but it'll be good for me to nurture our friendship because I can already tell we'll be lifelong friends! Also, we've never really been able to drink together so this should be very interesting as we're very similar in that regard.
On July 26th I would be moving in to my new apartment in Ithaca, NY! Then I'll have a busy week of helping my classmates move in to their apartments. That's quite alright, I welcome the activity! We wouldn’t have anything to do until August 2nd when Math Camp starts - so there will be a lot of bonding going on.
I'm almost FUNemployed! So this chapter of my life is finally coming to a close. I've had my last weekend in NYC. On Friday night I went out to my friend's going away
party. She's going to Duke, well technically she's there already. Math camp started today for her. If you're wondering who I'm referring too, it's my friend that I was talking to when I got the call from Cornell – Jessica. She's been through every step of this process with me so it was nice to be able to send her off with a bang.
Then on Saturday night I had my party in conjunction with friends from Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, and Kellogg. We sponsored a party in Brooklyn at a friend’ss house and had over 115 friends in attendance! I had an incredible time and met some great new people as well. When I was saying my goodbyes to them it was no longer, "Oh I'll see you next week... or I'll see you at dinner." This time it was "Oh have fun at school...I'll see you at National Black or the Reaching Out Conference." Kind of bitter sweet but this is what we've all wanted.
I started counting down the hours to my last day of work not because I did not enjoy what I do, but because it was time for me to move on to something new. Plus I felt left out because I would say 90% of my friends who were going to b-school had quit their jobs already. I was definitely a late bloomer in that regard.
For my going away part with my closest friends we decided to go to Agave in
NYC. Initially I wanted to go to a fancy place that I've always wanted to go to but then I thought about it and realized that I want my last dinner in NYC to be a good one with great food. So although I had been to Agave before, I didn’t mind going back. The atmosphere is very intimate so I was looking forward to being able to talk with my friends and be able to tell them how much they mean to me. It was important that I did this because they need to know how much they've helped me get to this point through their continuous support. They were the very ones who I told not to call me on a Friday/Saturday night because I did not want to be tempted to go out and party. They also allowed me to miss a lot of important events without being upset with me.
Well my dinner was friends was perfect. It turned out exactly the way I envisioned it. (I guess that’s why I initially said that it was perfect....) Halfway through appetizers I told my friends that they were to think of a funny story about me and tell it to the table. It was good to rehash old stories as I go on to create new ones with a new group of
friends. Then I also gave a “speech.” I started talking when I felt that I would be able to keep it together, but to no avail I was not able too. I just wanted to tell them how much they meant to me in general and especially throughout the application process which was the toughest time of my life. I would not have been able to get through it without their help and support so I wanted them to know that.
Now the next order of business is drinks with my ex-coworkers tonight, couple bschool friends, and my GMAT tutor. That should be a fun time! Then It’s back home to pack for my trip to Michigan. I’m very much so looking forward to that as it’s going to consist of a lot of beverage consumption. This will be my “vacation” this year. Since I’m in no position to travel the world like some of my classmates are, this little getaway will hit the bank account slightly, but is a much needed getaway.
Tuesday was the big moving day! I actually needed to find out from my father if we could take his truck up there. That way I don’t have to pay $X to rent a U-Haul. I would not enjoy driving a U-Haul for five hours – or maybe I would! But it would be another
$300 that would have to come out of my pocket and I would rather buy my books with that $300.
My roommate and I would be renting furniture so thankfully we didn’t have to worry about beds and couches and all that nonsense. I just essentially had to bring my clothes...some linens...all my Cornell swag that I’ve received and ordered. Then once I moved in I would have to make sure that I get through all of the MBA Math material to prepare for Math Camp which starts on the 2nd of August. I kind of had a little heart attack when I saw the agenda. But it should be a good time because a lot of my classmates will be in attendance.
So then moving day arrived. Was I fully packed? Nope not at all. Should I have gone out to the bar for a couple of cocktails the night before? Probably not. Did I need to be awake to complete my packing? Of course. Was I concerned about it? Nope... not at all. I would riding up to Cornell with my mother and my father. My dad was coming to pick us up around 6:45am which meant that we would probably get on the road at
8am. If that happened, and there wasn’t too much traffic, we should be pulling in to campus around 1pm. I want to make sure that we do get an early start because my parents want to see the campus and the business school. Yes, it's very much like undergrad for me where I take my parents around campus. But you know what... I wasn’t embarrassed at all. Without them it would not be possible so there's no shame in my game.
I felt for my international classmates because I realize that not everyone has this type of Army behind him/her arriving on campus. I have a couple classmates who are arriving shortly who are coming in with simply two suitcases. I'm sure their other stuff is on it's way but for some that's not the case. It's not that I feel bad for them per se but it's just a different thing ya know?
Then the plan for after I show them around campus was to hit up the supermarket. After living home for a couple of months since the city, I had forgotten that sure I'm going to need to buy cleaning supplies, light bulbs, food... etc etc all that stuff that I've taken for granted these last six months.
Then after the school tour and the minor shopping excursion, I plan to link up with my classmates and begin to "have fun'. Then on Wednesday I would continue with MBA Math – yes that was still looming. In addition to Math Camp, I had already received another assignment. I had to read two case studies by August 4th. It wouldn’t be difficult but yes... even though classes haven't started, for some of us the work starts immediately.
Then I finally made it to school and wrote this blog post:
So yes I've finally made it too school and I've decided that I am not going to blog that often any more about my experience IN business school. There will just be too much to talk about. I've been here in Ithaca since last Tuesday and have met the most incredible people already. There has been a lot of drinking going on and with that comes a lot of bonding! We're basically the early birds in Ithaca right now and for the next week or so it will probably remain as such.
I still have plans to write my "thank you" blog to everyone who helped me along this
journey, but I've decided to hold off until the first actual day of classes. Sure, right now I'm laying in my bed and have to wake up in the morning to go over to the health center and then buy my financial calculator and finish MBA Math before Math Camp which starts on tuesday and make yet another trip to Walmart (I know that was an incorrect sentence), but I just feel that I can officially close this chapter of my blog on the first day of classes.