Friday, January 16, 2009

Doom and gloom and Kroll too

I'm typically nothing if not positive when it comes to dreaming about the MBA future that awaits us all. BUT there's a recent thread on the BusinessWeek forums which really has me thinking. It's from a current Top 5 MBA student (probably Kellogg or Booth) who is talking about how dire the recruiting situation is for both full-time and internship positions. He says that students outnumber internship postings by 2 to 1! That's insane. I know it's just one person's experience but I've heard similar stories and from my own research, a lot of students are giving similar accounts (though maybe not as soul-crushing).

This begs the question. Is the MBA worth it? I've adamantly resolved that the MBA is the next phase of my life no matter what. I'm going to do this regardless of the job situation. But if I take off my blinders for a second, I can't help but wonder if the $175,000 (my personal calculation for CBS) for 2 years is worth it if it won't yield my dream job. Granted I don't know what my dream job is but I want to be able to get it once I determine that obviously. Yes, the experience and education and personal development and network will be worth it. But if internship recruiting is so dire now, how will it be in the fall when I start myself? Probably not much better. A lot of analyts expect the economy to start rebounding around Quarter 3 of 2009 but that might be a bit too optimistic. I always told myself that we'll be recovering (at the very least) by graduation in May 2011 but the reality is that I need to prepare much sooner. In fact, I believe Columbia recruiting events start within weeks of getting on campus aka September 2009! Ay carumba.

Perhaps there's a silver lining. Maybe the lack of a super attractive full-time job option will force me to dive into my entrepreneurial idea head-first. That's a good thing. But I originally wanted to ease into that venture while I worked a normal corporate job, preferrably as a trader at a big bank (so I think currently). I realize that no trading jobs are out there right now. I believe I have a decent shot of getting one of the few ones that pop up by graduation since I have experience as a trading assistant but I feel like I need the internship too. Ugh, maybe I should stop stressing.

In other words, I have submitted my Kroll application and it's MUCH simpler than originally anticipated. It's different for each school (I believe they can customize what info to check) but Columbia asks for the bare bones. CBS' Kroll app asked for my current job, recommender info, undergrad info, and biographic info. It did NOT ask me about extra curriculars or past jobs or anything I wrote in essays. This should be a relief to some. I did not get an official "passed" yet but I fully expect to receive one.

On another note, I received a voicemail from Linda Meehan, the Director of CBS MBA Admissions, this week congratulating me on my admit. I'm kinda sad it took her this long to get to me considering I was probably one of the first 10 apps in their pile this season but it's cool. I'm sadder that I didn't get to pick up the call myself. Oh, and other sad news: my trip to Greece is off though I will probably still go to Morocco. San Fran is coming up in the next month or two too.

Alright, I'm going to run to the gym so I can dunk on some freshmen. And by "dunk", I mean shoot mid-range jumpers. I'm meeting 2 of my future classmates (whom I've already met a couple times) in the DC area for dinner afterwards. Tex-mex or pub grub?


praz said...

hey tieney, have been following your blog and posts in gmatclub for a while. i just had my col interview today, fingers crossed for now- just wanted to congratulate you again and thank you for all the detailed posts on cbs :)

Samantha said...

I hear your worries, but don't dwell on it. I keep asking myself, what's the alternative? I'd hit a wall in my career in a year or two even if I stayed in the same path and so would you I assume.

Getting an MBA still makes you qualified for jobs across dozens of industries around the world, even if the competition is tough right now. That's more than I can say for a hypothetical job search right now w/o MBA (were I to start one) where I would be limited to one industry and one function based on my post-college experience and completely disqualified from higher-up jobs by not having an MBA.

Or at least that's what I keep telling myself:)

TienyChesney said...

Congrats on the interview- I hope you got a good feeling from it. Def lemme know if you wind up matriculating!

You're right. My current job sucks and there's no future for me here. MBA is a better alternative than anything else. I guess I just wish the timing was better with the state of the economy... but of course your point is right: it's the best of many non-ideal options :)

Anonymous said...

My address is mba.applicant2011 at

Look forward to hearing from you.

Mehreen said...

hi - i know i guess probably every prospective mba student goes through the whole dilemma of whether or not an mba is worth it, whether leaving your comfort zone, ur daily routine and a salary is worth it all... well, the thing is.. life is short - 5 yrs down the line, when you're past the mba stage you'll prob regret this opportunity if u havent utilised it.. so definitely, its worth it.. after all its only 2 yrs, u have the rest of your life to work, make money and so on! :)

Anonymous said...

I understand that this is only natural for any prospective student to worry abt finances. But if u can manage this, I am sure that in the long term, u'll find immense value in Columbia brand name..

TienyChesney said...

@ Mehreen and Mission,

I'm not so much questioning the value of my MBA but rather the timing and circumstances surrounding it. I agree it's definitely worth it for me personally... but since the value of the MBA is highest immediately after graduation, I wish the economy would allow me to capitalize on that with internship/full-time jobs, which it might not. Oh, and I don't consider myself a prospective any more- after a $6000 deposit, I consider myself an incoming student hehe :P

Soni said...

Hey Tieny,
I'm curious if you get your $6k back after Kroll finds out about that one felony on your record. Yes I know you were drunk, but running over old ladies w/ your car is still manslaughter + DUI :P

This will really suck if I can't get an IB internship next summer. Gonna have to go to blah MC route. Hope your midrange jumper is still working!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I don't consider myself a prospective any more- after a $6000 deposit, I consider myself an incoming student hehe :P

Hehhehe.. I know that.. Just used the word "prospective" to include my own worries.

Anonymous said...

hey tieney, i'm also a columbia admit. do you know when kroll is due? my employee doesnt know i was accepted to columbia and seeing as how i want to work until june, i dont want kroll calling them yet.


TienyChesney said...

Hi Anon,

Welcome future classmate! Don't worry, I am not nearly the basketcase that I sound like in my admittedly obsessive blog. As for Kroll, I don't believe there's a deadline though you have to obviously do it before you matriculate. You should double check your "Admitted Students To Do List" on the official admitted students website though... it has all the dates there.

But here's the thing: you should do it as soon as possible so you don't have to worry about explaining any issues in case the check takes longer than usual. Don't wait til the last minute. Kroll is supposed to be discreet and won't tell your employer that they're asking on behalf of Columbia. They will talk to Human Resources or whatever phone number you give them. They will, however, ask one of your recommenders but that shouldn't be a problem since they wrote your rec and know about your MBA already. So definitely try to do it asap. It's really quite painless- log into the Kroll site and you can see the questions are bare bones basic (nothing on essays or extra-currics).

CBSer '11 said...

Hi Tieny,

I'm also going to be one of your classmates @ CBS in the fall, and I'm pretty sure we met up in NYC in December. Like our other classmate Anon, I applied in confidence and don't plan to tell my my employer for some time that I'll be leaving. CBS AdCom told me to hold off on Kroll since they'd be calling my company, but I'd rather just get it over with. Where'd you hear that they're discrete and don't mention CBS when calling? Did you talk to Kroll directly?

TienyChesney said...


Oooh, we've actually met! You must email me or friend me on facebook then. Regarding Kroll, the "discree nature" has been reiterated many times by other applicants and admissions consultants on the BusinessWeek forums and I think GMATclub too. I have NOT heard that it's discreet from Kroll themselves though. You can indeed call up Kroll (and speak to some very nice people, I've talked to 3 of them already) and ask them yourself as to how discreet you are. They're nice enough people that you could explain your situation and ask them if it'd be risky to do the verification at this juncture or not. You can find their phone number on the Kroll website but if you can't, feel free to contact me directly and I'll send it to you (it'd prob be inappropriate of me to post the Kroll person's direct phone numbers on here).