Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stern Nights & Moral Dilemma

As you may be aware, I'm in NY this weekend and last night, I went out around the East Village which is NYU territory. We started at Continental which has the cheapest shots in Manhattan (hint- they're watered down) then went to Bar None and Plan B to dance like an idiot. Then finished at Union Bar. Fun night. I didn't meet any Sternies and the kids at Continental were mostly undergrads but it really made me envision how much fun living downtown would be if I were to go to Stern. I think it might be the funnest school to go to and that impression is only reinfornced by the Stern Follies video below. Fast forward to 1:35 and there's a spoof on Summer Nights from Grease. It's hilarious! My favorite line is "got our backpacks, we looked like fools, met some people, thought they were tools."

I also took the liberty of checking out the Stern class of 2010 facebook group and HappyBunny is right, "Stern girls are the shiniest." That Grease spoof should lay the debate to rest. So I guess there may be life after Columbia after all (but let's pray that it doesn't come to it). I didn't intend to spend Saturday night researching Stern, but it certainly reinforced how fun downtown living is. If I could live anywhere in the city, it'd probably be the East Village. No joke. Depending on what vibes (or lack thereof) I get from Columbia, I'll visit Stern for a class visit and more research in late Sept or early October.

By the way, I think it's hilarious that Stern students are such avid beer pong players- at least from what I've noticed in other random videos and random comments. I guess my being an excellent beer pong player demonstrates strong "fit" with the program :) and nope, I don't call it beirut. One of my favorite lines from attending Georgetown undergrad actually relates to beer pong. You know how you're allowed to re-rack the cups in the middle of the game to create a better formation? Most people ask the opposing team to re-rack the cups into a pyramid, square, or "I" formation. But my favorite requests were "can I get a rhombus please?" !!! Yes, this kind of request happened more than once but it's funnier if you imagine a preppy Jack Hoya type saying it in a completely serious tone. How I love my alma mater :)

I also have a moral dilemma. I've been a vegetarian for 5.5 years now. I do it purely for moral reasons. That is, I don't want to kill animals. The health and economic reasons don't really resonate with me as much. Anyway, I'm starting to wonder if I should add chicken to my diet. This would help solve the protein problem and I wouldn't be fully reneging on the vegetarianism. It sounds stupid to me that I'd be a vegetarian except when it came to chicken. I feel really bad for those birds :( The way I see it, if I believe killing is wrong, then I should avoid it completely (hence full veggie-ism). Plus, eating chicken might make my life a little easier and help me avoid being a hassle for friends to dine with at crappy restaurants that don't even have 1 veggie option. Not gonna lie though, part of the reason I've started thinking about this is because I've finally caught onto this thing called "working out." Can't be a skinny guy forever. But this strikes me as a bad, vain reason. I shouldn't kill birds in order to look manlier. I guess that solves my ethical dilemma =/

P.S. I just got a Blackberry and have thus joined the 21st century. I'm not doing it for showboating reasons cuz I hate technology (really complicates my life) but rather because I think it'll be really useful to get acclimated to the thing before b-school when it almost becomes a necessity.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Columbia c/o 2010

Arrggh, I just found the stats for Columbia's incoming class of 2008 (both J-Term and Fall). Apparently only 32% of the class is women. That's a disaster. The link is below:

I've heard that J-Term is always disproportionately men (even in b-school terms) though. The weird thing is that I heard women were about 35% of the latest incoming class. I don't like how we're starting to trend towards MIT (close to 30%) instead of HBS (close to 38%) in that respect. Maybe that's another reason to apply to Stern. 42% !!

Explaining the Criteria

I'm back in NY this weekend. Mom's been in Beijing for nearly 3 months so it was really good to come back and see her again. She got me 5 mini bobbleheads of the Friendlies (those cute mascots for the Beijing Olympics), a deck of cards, and some headbands featuring the red Friendly. I will look like such a fruit but I'm kinda excited to wear it the next time I play basketball. I've learned that moms don't change :)

Anyway, I've been reading up on Wharton and Yale recently. Yale's really my 2nd choice next to Columbia in terms of fit but it's impossible to ignore Wharton's stature as the best MBA program in the country (in my opinion). Just because of that, Wharton is my second choice and Yale my third. But here's the thing. If I don't get into Columbia, there's a considerable chance that I don't get into Wharton (duh). If I only apply to 3 schools, then I'm putting all my eggs in the Yale basket. I'd go there in a heartbeat but what of my love for New York? I almost feel like I have to apply to NYU Stern. Have to. Upon second glance, their essays aren't as easy as I remembered them being. Luckily, their deadline is not until November but that means the wait will be even longer. Ay. But truth be told, I would probably have a great time at Stern and it would probably allow me to do what I want/need career-wise. I don't even mind the lackluster facilities (in my opinion only!) and the "city campus". I guess the thing that really bugs me is that I will feel like I settled in terms of prestige. I've written before and I'll write it again: I'm a prestige whore.

I wonder if that means Yale or Stern is my real 3rd choice? Hmm. Well I thought I'd take a page from OMGparishilton's book and explain the factors that I care about when ascertaining fit with potential MBA programs. I've actually covered these in depth in my old, now-defunct blog but I'd like to explain myself.

Location: This is super important to me. I want to be in Manhattan, NY. Anywhere else is compromising. NYU Stern wouldn't be on my radar at all without this key factor.

Brand/Prestige: This is super important too. The thing is that rankings only account for part of this (though a considerable part). In my head, I have my own idea of what the top schools are and rankings can only sway the order so much. That means I will always consider Columbia prestigious even if it's been at #9 in the rankings forever. The whole superficial M7 and Ivy League association are good enough for me. Similarly, that is why I will consider Yale but not any other school outside the top 10 or 12 or whatever we want to debate it is.

Career Prospects: This is almost a moot factor since most of the top 10 schools will get you where you need to go. But it helps if the network or program or recruiting is particularly geared towards real estate or finance for me.

Culture: This is a tricky one to describe but I don't want snobs (even if I have snobbish tendencies at times) and I don't want nerds (yes, I realize that we're all nerds to a degree by virtue of our GMAT scores). But I do want to enjoy the company of the other students. I want to feel comfortable. And having only 30% females doesn't help (sorry, MIT).

Curriculum: Obviously the more flexibility the better but it doesn't matter that much to me. I pretty much accept that the 1st year is mostly core and the 2nd year is electives at most anywhere. I don't care about being able to exempt myself from certain courses because I have no previous coursework anyway.

Hmm, I thought there'd be a lot more factors but I guess everything kinda loosely falls under "culture." And seriously, most things are not that important. Facilities are important but c'mon, they are not that important when compared to location, career prospects, and culture. Similarly, % of international students, food, grading systems, and all that stuff are small.

Since I'm a wackjob, I thought I'd also list my likelihood of acceptance at each of my target programs (assuming I put in my best application) as of today. These are all untenetable hunches.

Columbia 78%
Wharton 41%
Yale 55%
Stern 77%

Oh, and how could I forget? Harvard 102% :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New York, Campus Visits, Beautification Day, Lax Apps Progress

I haven't been back to NY in about 10 weeks. Crazy. But mom is finally back from Beijing so next week I'm going home for the long weekend. I know my mom will want a lot of my attention but I'll have lots of other stuff to attend to too. Friends and personal business stuff. So much so that I don't think I'll be stalking Columbia's campus at all hehe.

As for my New England trip, it will definitely be Sept. 17-20. Wednesday is MIT, Thursday is Yale, and Friday is Harvard (Harvard and MIT may flip flop though). Then on Saturday we depart but not before checking out Boston a lil more. And it looks like HappyBunny will be joining us for the Yale trip... she actually offered to drive! That should be fun and you know I'll be blogging like crazy when I return. I've promised Samantha a detailed HBS report.

This past saturday was DC Public Schools Beautification Day. I led a group of 25 volunteers to landscape Eliot Junior High School (apparently middle school and junior high are synonymous these days). Waking up at 6:30 am was painful. But the day went really well. People really enjoyed themselves and the front of the school looks sooo pretty. It was literally dirt and dead grass when we got there. Afterwards, it was still kinda dirt and dead grass but there was also lots of pretty flowers and mulch. Not bad. More than half of the 25 volunteers were from the same Christian Bible group and they were radical. Super fun and super hard workers. When they found out we only had 4 flowers to plant (ridiculous budget), they went to Home Depot and purchased a bunch of flowers themselves! Insane. Plus, I think one of them took a liking to me but alas we will never know now. The project did reveal that I need help in refining my leadership skills. There was one volunteer who works for the DC Office of Accountability (or something like that) and she was a "strong personality" and tried to usurp the reins of the project a little. Plus the principal came out and tried directing us which sucked because I should've told him that I was the site manager. Ay carumba. I suck at being authoritative. I don't want to come off as a know-it-all dictator. It worked out in the end though.

Students just started returning to campus at Georgetown this weekend and it is cool. I like seeing a college campus full of life. I wish I was a student.

Would you believe that I haven't done anything app-related for almost 2 weeks? It's true, Lafou.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yale and HBS Trip

Did you know I've never been to Boston before? Never had any desire to visit either. As a proud New Yorker (is there any other kind?), I never saw the point. Well it turns out my good friend is going to visit HBS, Sloan, and Yale on September 17-19 so I'm going to keep her company. I'm really going for Yale and perhaps put the nail in the coffin when it comes to deciding whether to apply to Harvard or not. I'm sure I'll fall in love and want to waste my time and apply (dammit). But maybe I'll meet an arse or two and decide otherwise :P I have no interest in MIT at all but I'm going to treat this as a mini-vacation. Even if I don't want to attend the school, it's always interesting and fun to check out the campuses of world-class universities. I've never been to Harvard! I've been to Yale only once when I was terribly young (my cousin went there for undergrad). This'll be a fun holiday becuz I do need to get away. My friend is also super fun so it should be enjoyable. And you will benefit too cuz I will blog about it hehe. Time to start looking for airfare from DC to NY. Does anyone know the easiest way to get from Boston to New Haven? I'm assuming Amtrak or cheapo bus (my kinda style).

Wharton and Yale are going to be the other round 1 schools I apply to, but I'm going to procrastinate as much as possible before starting those apps in earnest. Maybe I'm delusional but I feel good about my chances at Columbia. I'm still on the fence about HBS (high input of energy, low likelihood of success). And my interest in Stern is starting to wane. While it suits my needs (program and recruiting-wise) and I know I'd have lotsa fun, I really want a super elite brand. I know it's stupid to care about such things but it's true, Lafou (prize for anyone who knows what movie that's quoted from!) Since Stern has such a late Round 1 deadline, I guess I'll decide whether to apply much later. So the order right now is Columbia, Wharton, Yale, and maybe HBS and/or Stern.

By the way, my friend is super smart. She went to Brown for undergrad (is it just me or are all Brown alumni super cool?) and she's also visiting Berkeley and Stanford on her own the week before our trip. I'm so proud of her cuz I got b-school into her head. She works at a non-profit and is not happy with the way things are going. Her ROI will be sweeeeeet.

So that's the big news. In other news, I am the site manager for DC Public Schools Beautification Day this saturday. I have to be at the school by 7:30 am! Oi vey indeed. It was impossible to get in touch with the school's point of contact too. I just found out that there is major construction going on inside the school so we will ONLY be landscaping and sidewalk clean-up. It's a liability and safety issue. So I guess my volunteers will be done by 8:30 haha.

I'm an idiot and actually volunteered to be Project Coordinator for 2 OTHER volunteer events on Saturday too. One is keeping senior citizens company at a senior home and the other is performing yard work for the elderly. I actually volunteered for these two events over a month ago so I didn't keep track of the dates. Oh well, looks like I will be attending DCPS Beautification Day instead. I'm also excited because I will get to see a friend for late lunch this saturday whom I haven't seen in a year.

Everyone knows I hate my job but today I had a conversation with my manager and almost yelled at him which would've been really bad. My company is such a campy, feel-good, hand-holding embarassment of a consulting firm that screaming at my manager is probably the only way anybody ever gets fired. Basically he was being a piss-poor manager (too much to get into) and I had enough and gave him some harsh tone in my voice in front of all the the other team members. I was going to really let him have it but he had to run to a client meeting. I cooled off in the meantime and apologized to him later so that I don't get fired needlessly and do something that realllllly hurts my admission chances at a top MBA program. Trying to play it smart :) Since I used to work on one of Deutsche Bank's trading floors (the Emerging Markets-Latin America floor which is a notoriously volatile market), I am so used to yelling and cursing. Looks like I'm in the minority ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tutoring, Carlyle, & the Upper West Side

Today I tutored one of my co-workers who is taking the GMAT in October. He is actually more than a co-worker, I would definitely consider him a friend. He sought out my help a couple months ago when he learned of my b-school ambitions. The tricky thing is that he doesn't have a strong academic background. He is a good writer (though I don't know if that will translate to proficiency at Verbal) but he has a lot of problems with math fundamentals. As we know, the GMAT tests those fundamentals hardcore. Things like fractions, integers, decimals need a lot of freshening up. Anyway, I've helped him several times at work but today I actually went to his place. Almost three hours of work today and I'm happy to say he's definitely learning a lot. I can see the improvement and comprehension. Unfortunately he makes a lot of careless mistakes and needs to stop giving up those free points. He has one thing going for him tho. He is applying for extended time (up to 100% more time aka up to 8 hours!) because he has an eye impairment that keeps him from focusing and can induce dizziness. No word yet on whether his request will be approved.

I met one of his roommates and the guy is cool. He's a Dartmouth alum currently working at the Carlyle Group as an analyst in domestic real estate. Sounds like he has my ideal job! He is really into it and considering an MBA too (realllly early in his though process). He simply wants one but doesn't need one because he loves his job (as he should). I really advised him to hold off until he finds a real need for the degree. He seemed to agree.

It's funny cuz I didn't realize Carlyle had its headquarters in DC. Weird! Anyway, he definitely has the best job of anyone I know in the DC area. By far. I asked him if Carlyle would hire anyone for just one year (hehe like me) and he said he didn't think so. Duh.

Oh yeah, and before you guys think I'm a d-bag, I'm not charging my co-worker for the tutoring. I let him buy me Panera for lunch but that was it... it just doesn't feel right to take money from a friend for something that doesn't cost me anything but time. But it'd be cool if we could do the majority of the tutoring at work hehe.

Also, I've learned from a Columbia ambassador on the GMATclub forum that most CBS students opt to live on the Upper West Side (UWS). This disconcerts me. I already know that I won't get on-campus housing due to the space crunch and my current proximity to NY. But I really had my hopes on living around Morningside Heights so I could be as close and involved with the Columbia community as possible. I wanted to be able to walk to campus without hopping on the train. I had even talked myself into loving the indie, artsy, somewhat rustic feel of the neighborhood. But I guess I can see why students would favor the UWS. After all, it's still close (only a few subway stops away) and safer, nicer. Unfortunately, it seems like they usually stay around the upper 80's to upper 90's which is the blandest, yuckiest area of the UWS. It isn't as nice as the 70's aka it's lower-income. That's because of its proximity to Morningside Heights, but unlike Morningside Heights, it doesn't have that artsy culture. In fact, it's rather sterile. Like DC. Morningside Heights gets its feel becuz it's dominated by Columbia. The upper Upper West Side is just sucky.

If I was going to take the subway to class, then I would just as soon live in the West Village which is euro-cool. The train ride would be about 20 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes so might as well right? But I guess the difference would be more pronounced in the late hours that I would keep as a busy b-school stud... ent. It would all be mitigated if my apartment was close to the subway stop though (aka 1 block instead of 3 or 4). In the end though, I think it would be more important to live with a cool Columbia roommate regardless of location. It would be sweet to find a super cool Morningside Heights apartment super close to campus, maybe right off Broadway. In the absence of that, then I guess I might as well be in the 70's or lower 80's if I have to be in the UWS. No 90's please, pretty please!

And for those of you who think I'm getting ahead of myself by thinking of apartments (actually, I've searched for such apartments many many times online already), you would be correct. In fact, I've also completely plotted my two-year class schedule on a spreadsheet. I was going to post it but I can't find an "attachment" option or icon on blogger :( If anyone knows how to do this, let me know.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Restless Rant w/ ScoreTop & Off-Topics

Geez, it's 5:30 am and I can't fall asleep... too much going thru my head that I won't get into... also didn't help that I inadvertently fell asleep at midnight for 2 hours.

I thought this might be of interest though. I know that the ScoreTop scandal is no longer on the minds of many (at least not of the innocent) but I just found this article posted over 2 weeks ago on BW. It's a Q&A session with a GMAC official, Peggy, who seems very friendly and smiley in her photo but then gives a lot of machine-like answers. Apparently GMAC will only cancel the scores of people who either posted live questions or posted to confirm that they saw live questions. That's it. The link is below:

The last line of the entire article made me laugh. At first, I thought that Peggy, the GMAC official, said this as her parting words: "The field that MBA aspirants run through is fraught with land mines. Caveat tester." Then I realized that the line was actually the BusinessWeek writer's closing line. Wouldn't it have been a hoot if the GMAC official actually said that as a parting shot though!? Ha!

I also attended an Orientation session for Site Manager training for DC Public Schools Beautification Day on August 23rd. I will be leading some volunteers to beautify Eliot Middle School and get it ready for the first day of classes. I met 2 people from my company there (completely coincidental) and they said they were making company t-shirts and offered me one. Sweet! There is nothing I love more than free t-shirts of random events. I'm being completely serious. Did you know I already own 3 Columbia shirts? I know, I know. The crappy thing is that I made plans to go home to NY on the weekend of the 23rd. My mom has been in Beijing for 2 months and is returning that weekend so I wanted to see her. Now I obviously can't and will have to go back to NY the weekend after instead. Hope she doesn't mind.

One of my good friends who lives in College Park, Maryland told me some big news today. I thought he was going to tell me that his girlfriend of 3 years (maybe longer?) just got engaged... instead, he told me they just broke up. They are currently living together so he's trying to move out asap and into my neighborhood coincidentally. Tough stuff. Completely unrelated, my biggest high-school-crush-turned-good-friend just returned to NY after living in Berlin for 2 years. She will only be here two more weeks before moving to London for some prestigious Courtald master's program in art history (I think) though. Have you ever met someone so extraordinary that you feel as if you'd definitely have to marry her (or him) if the opportunity ever arose? (I'm assuming most of my readers are single) No? Well, whatever. This was getting just a bit off-topic with my blog's theme anyway.

I just realized the other day that Clear Admit (not positive but I think it's them) has a MBA applicant blog summary every friday and that they sometimes mention me. If this is my last post by then, I wonder how they're going to summarize this post considering it's largely off-topic. Last week they mentioned how I got a sweet MIT Sloan pen from the admissions panel thingy though :P Cool beans! Maybe I will mention something school or app-related to get me onto that summary thingy... how about...

... um, blanking here. For once. Maybe that's a good thing.

Tomorrow I have to go to a project team outing at RFK Stadium to watch the Nationals play some crummy baseball. I only went cuz I thought it would be fun but none of the fun co-workers are going apparently. Plus, it's supposed to rain! Drat. It will look really bad if I cancel (not that I haven't been making myself look really bad at work for the past six months already). But then again, what else am I going to do? Sit at home and become an alcoholic while watching the Olympics? errr, but I hate rain! I melt in it.

Okay, 5:45 am. Time for some ZzZzzzZzzzZzzz.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Silence of the Applicants

Has anyone else noticed an eerie silence from the blogosphere (first time ever using that word, I swear)? Many of our fellow 2009er's haven't posted recently and I suspect it's because they're busy busy busy on their apps. That scares me. That makes me anxious. So I will not post about my CBS app for at least two weeks. That's the plan. This will keep me from getting too worked up and maybe it'll keep me working hard instead.

But it's so hard to work hard now that I've realized GMATClub's Columbia thread is so informative. I just started becoming active on it (much moreso than I ever was on BW forums). The link to the CBS thread is below. HappyBuns and Sons are on it too.

I was bored an hour ago so I started re-reading some of my earlier posts about my Columbia visits... what a tool I must sound like. That's what makes me a great candidate for b-school I suppose :P Also, my alma mater's gym is closed for renovations for a week... arrrgh. That means I am stuck at home getting fat and watching the Olympics every night. Exciting stuff. Fortunately tomorrow I have orientation for a big volunteer project coming up and thursday there my team at work is going to the Nationals game... I hate baseball but don't mind it all that much in person. I hear we (the Nats) suck. I hope the beer is subsidized.

Oh yeah, I also found a roommate. Nobody cares about that though. I wonder what I will blog about now that I've put the muzzle on myself. Suggestions welcome.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Exhausted... & New Poll Up

I am tired as heck of writing. I wonder how many hours people spend on each essay on average? 10 hours? 25 hours? 5 hours? I currently have to write a Self-Assessment for my annual review at work and to say I am half-assing it is an embellishment. I literally copied everything from the last review haha. I am sick of writing. Thus this will be the shortest post ever.

There is a new poll up on the right of my blog. Feel free to click away. What did I learn from my last poll? Basically that most people dislike CBS' commuter school rep and that a surprising number of people hate Uris Deli too. Not a single person hated the gym which is actually a pretty big deal to me. But then again, there's a decent chance that visitors don't even check out the gym I guess. Let me tell you, we will all be fat and unsightly by the end of our two years because the facilities are so high school junior varsity-ish. But then again, we may all be skinny due to Uris Deli-induced anorexia... j/k.

I'm considering taking a hiatus from blogging for the next few weeks to focus on my app. Would anyone object? Yeahhh, didn't think so ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Top 5 B-School Admissions Panel

This evening I attended the Top 5 B-school Admissions Panel (or whatever unoriginal name they're calling it) in Washington, DC. It was held at the Capitol Hilton, a very nice, large conference room in a ritzy hotel. The link to the event is here, first provided by Soni (who sadly couldn't make it due to work) : There are other dates, all this week, in the other big urban centers like NY and Boston and San Fran so check it out. Mine was sponsored by the Penn club in DC and Kaplan (bleh) too. And it's free.

So I got there early and you could tell it was a high-powered affair. Only the top 5 schools (in the sense that they're the only schools to ever hold the top slot in either BW or U.S. News since 2003 according to Son). Their fancy brochures were laid out on tables for grimey hands to pick up. MIT Sloan even had some sweet pens. A funny thing I noticed is that HBS had 2 smaller pamphlets that didn't have any title or discernable point to them other than the generic propoganda. 3 hours later I realized that one was targeted towards women and the other towards minorities. As an over-represented majority minority male, I guess I shouldn't have touched them. Oops.

A couple observations. The vast majority of the aspirants in attendance looked very well put-together. Definitely like future business leaders. I didn't talk to any of them as I had a friend with me for a crutch but still, I could tell. They were all dressed smartly, had good posture, clean hair/teeth, didn't scratch their butt, etc. The future business leaders of the world will at the very least be presentable and well-groomed :) The other great thing is that a good 40% of the room of 800-900 were women. Considering the top b-schools only have around 35% women, this was a welcome sight. And they were attractive women too in many cases. Win win all around. I also recognized someone I dislike from work and a girl whom I hadn't seen since college in attendance.

So apparently there's a silent auction for a group Kaplan class. I didn't stick around to learn the winning bid. The panelists from left to right are: Judith Hodara from Wharton, Eileen Chang from HBS, Derrick Bolton from Stanford, Sloan lady, and Kellogg lady. Sorry, I don't remember their names. As you may recall, I am a Columbia ED guy so I was only there to glimpse some insight into HBS and Wharton. Mostly Wharton though. I think I'm deluding myself with the HBS pipedream. Anywho...

They've split up the topics so that each school gets to talk about only one admissions factor even though what they say is meant to be broadly applicable to all the schools on the panel. So in otherwords, one school is speaking for all five schools. Weird format. Judith Hodara from Wharton starts off with "Academic Standing and GPA". She says what we all already know about there being no limits and cut-offs and how admissions is a wholistic process. No real info. Eileen from Harvard is next on the topic of "work experience." No info either. Derrick from Stanford then talks about interviews. And then the two nameless ladies speak but I've fallen asleep so I don't know what's going on. Seriously, I dozed off because they were speaking in such platitudes! Then there was an open Q&A session with some stupid and some surprisingly entertaining questions (one older applicant if it's okay that he write about formative experiences from the 90's).

I did find the dynamic between the schools interesting though. Judith and Eileen both clearly dominated the talking during the Q&A session. They were very assertive with the microphone and both were extremely articulate and well-spoken. They sounded like they knew exactly what to say and gave just the right proportion of response and ambiguity that is needed of public figures such as themselves. Impressive. They really represented their institutions well as the best in the country. Derrick from Stanford took a different approach. He didn't dominate the mic though he definitely was 3rd place in terms of amount of talking done. He spoke very sincerely and sounded like he was having a conversation with the entire audience... he seemed like a nice, personable guy and tried to give the most honest answers of the three. I can see why Stanford has the offbeat reputation. I liked him. The two nameless ladies from Sloan and Kellogg were kinda embarassing to watch. They never siezed the mic and weren't particularly articulate. I was kinda taken aback.

Eileen and Judith kinda leaned towards each other when the others were speaking too, almost as if they have a secret pact to raise themselves up as the 2 best MBA programs in the country. They could've convinced me tonight. Once the Q&A was done, the room full of aspirants flocked to elbow each other for a chance to speak to their fav school's rep. My friend and I walked out to get some dinner. California Pizza Kitchen. Mmm.

So what did I learn? Not much. I fell asleep. The panel was useless (almost) to me because I am probably a bit ahead of the game judging by the general questions being posed during the Q&A session. Also, the adcom themselves admitted this is the very start of the admissions season. At one point, I wanted to jump up and ask how Chicago and Columbia felt about not being included in the panel :P So that's my report. I know you didn't find it helpful but I was honest.

In other news, neither of my recommenders are done. I think I'm going to have to step up the annoyingness. I am making steady progress with my essays though. Also, I need to stop stressing. I am kinda stressed that I have to find a new roommate during this busy time but truth be told, I still have 25 days until I need a roomie to move in. Unlike New York, where I feel like people find their new apartment well over a month in advance, people in DC don't seem to finalize their living arrangements until 3 weeks beforehand. The uncertainty kills me but I need to just breathe and chill the heck out. I need a mojito. I don't care that it's 1:40 am on Monday night. Sorry for sounding so ornery :/

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Secondary Schools

For some reason, I've been thinking about my secondary schools. I don't like thinking negatively but I'm a realistic guy. I'd probably say I have a 80% chance of getting in Columbia at this point... just my opinion. I reserve the right to slide that percentage up and down in the coming weeks as my essays take further shape. If they start resembling turds, you can bet it'll plummet.

Anyone else self-conscious about using the optional essay? I have to use it to address two points. It's not really subjective because there are two points in my candidacy that Columbia has explicitly stated should be addressed if it was pertinent. I won't say what it is. I'm also thinking of addressing a third point which is specific to me: the fact that i've had many jobs. But I'm such an over-analyzer that maybe it isn't a big deal and I'd be better off not mentioning it. No need to call undue attention to it right? But I don't want to risk not mentioning it in case the adcom views it as a red flag. But then again, I don't like the idea of ending my essays with a "weakness" (or at the very least, not a strong point). Oi vey.

Also, I'm stressing about how much to write in the Work History's duties section. Should I write them matter-of-factly? Or should I write them with flowery prose that illuminates my candidacy in a bright light? If I choose the latter, it may be viewed as unprofessional. If I do the former, I may be missing out on a chance to showcase myself. Arrrgh.

Oh yeah, I was talking about my secondary schools. You know what, I just read on Samantha's blog that HBS re-did their website so I checked it out. And man, it is sweet. It certainly looks befitting of the best school in the world (in some minds that is). I particularly like the 3D map showcasing the different buildings and facilities. The photos and descriptions are great. Truly impressive. It's funny how marketing and propoganda can affect applicants so much but now I'm thinking I'll add HBS to my secondary list. I know I've been anti-HBS in the past, what with their snooty alumni (in my experience), but the best is the best right? No matter that I have like a 5% chance of accceptance there. I'm still holding fast with Wharton, Yale, and Stern. I guess Chicago will have to go even though I like the city so much but the combination of weather, socially awkward students (stereotype some say but not in my limited experience), and my comical inability to create decent slides for their essay kinda seals the deal. I'm still on the fence about Berkeley. There's just so much to write for them and I want to live in NY the rest of my life so my network wouldn't be as strong as it could be. I'm also kinda worried about their longitudinal prestige/ranking. Berkeley's hot now but it's one of those schools that I could imagine dropping in five or ten years. I think Yale's here to stay and there's no questioning H and W. People are going to crucify Columbia for their ranking but I don't really see them falling out of the top10 soon. Their nadir may be 11 or so. Stern I could see falling to top15 status though. Ah, who cares. Pure speculation and unfounded opinions on my part.

But I guess that makes my list, in order: Columbia, Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Stern.

For now :P I guess once I finish my CBS app by September, I can start looking at the pretty websites and materials of the other schools. Fun stuff. And perhaps all for nothing cuz I'm hoping for CBS first and foremost.

And I gotta say I'm sorry but alot of people have emailed me asking for the name of my consultants. I revealed them to the first bunch of people who emailed me but I think I'm going to stop. I just feel kinda weird about it. Sorry :(

Just a dozen days until the review period begins... ay carumba.