Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Writing Essays is DRAINING!!!

Goood Morning Goood Morning I'll Love Ya... Good Morning!  wait... hhmmm I think it's "Toooomorrow.. tomorrow.. I'll love ya... Tomorrow..." ok anyway choose your favorite it's unimportant!

So today I had many conversations, but I'll get to those in a second.  I want to address my studying.  So during the hour or so that I get for lunch I try to go do one of my MGMAT guides.  I just re-finished, for the umteenth time, the MGMAT Equations, Variables in Choices, and Inequalities book.  This time around I'm not allowing myself to skip any hard questions.  I'll admit that previously, I would just skip it and say that I'd come back to it and never do that.  So now, I force myself to sit there for 10/15 minutes and solve the problem.  It's a good confidence booster actually.

In addition to that lunch homework... I've been making sure that I do Quant sets every day.  My tutor had me do some problem sets last week, which were for him to get a sense of what we need to work on.

On Monday I did the first 37 problem solving out of the OG.  I got 5 incorrect... upon further inspection 3/5 were because of miscalculation errors on my part.  Now I am not taking these stupid errors lightly this time around.  I need to understand WHY I'm making these errors.  For example, one was about LxWxH but then all three were doubled making it 2Lx2Wx2H... for some reason my brain said ok 2x2x2=6 and not 8 like it should.  Those are the things that CANNOT happen on G-day!

On Tuesday I did the next 37 problem solving out of the OG and got 4 wrong.  My weakness is beginning to peak it's little head.  I know which questions I have issues with.  2 of those 4 were incorrect due to a stupid error on my part, but I did not include that in the debrief to my tutor because there must be a reason for me to make those mistakes and THAT'S what we need to figure out.

Tonight I did 37 of the DS questions.  I didn't do so hot here...so that too is very concerning.  Hopefully I'll have better luck tomorrow night when I do the next 37!  For DS I need to force myself to write more down.  I have a bad habit of doing things in my head which does not work 100% of the time for DS because you assume things that you don't have.

Now... on to the conversations I had today with a couple folks.  It's interesting when you start talking to current applicants and the same theme comes up.  Today it was all about Essays.  I spoke to 4 different people today and we were discussing essays and essay timelines.  One of my friends sent me his essay for NYU's PT program to look over.  I marked it up with comments and sent it back over to him and told him that I loved him and to not hate me.  I think he understands I'm only trying to help.

I started my Tuck essays tonight!  I decided to go sit on the pier by my house for inspiration.  I live on the west side so I went to the pier by the Intrepid.  Here are a couple of pictures!

The first thing I did upon sitting down was re-read my Dartmouth Tuck Visit debrief.  For me, the reason I was soooo detailed in that debrief was for this exact purpose.  I wanted to relive my trip up there while I was writing essays.  So... to that I say... mission 1 accomplished.  

I started writing the first essay - Why an MBA and Why Tuck?  I've had this essay in my head for months now, so to get it on paper was not difficult.  I wrote about 800 words and will of course need to trim it down but I feel better knowing that there is a hard copy of my thoughts saved on my hard drive.  

I skipped the 2nd essay about leadership because I'm waiting to hear back from someone about something.

I started writing the 3rd essay which is about a challenge I've overcome and what not... the topic I chose was a no brainer... however I did not think that writing about it would be so draining and time consuming.  I know I've had to overcome but I've never ever had to write about it so thoroughly.  What I thought would be one of the easier essays for me to write about has become the more difficult.

The 4th essay is when I packed up and walked home.  It was dark and my eyes were hurting.  I wrote down my ideas for this essay, but I needed to come back and connect to the internet so I could research something.

I was definitely exhausted from all of that thinking! 

Cheers mate!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheerleading = My Life! 5 Videos Posted...

Hello All... So I wanted to give you a look into what my life consisted of for 5 years.  My friends know this about me but not many other people do.  I used to be a cheerleader!  So let me back up a bit.  Throughout my whole life I did gymnastics.  Gymnastics is one of those sports you do to go to the Olympics otherwise there's no point.  Some of the men on the US mens gymnastics team this past Olympics I used to compete against!  How cool?

So anyway I stopped gymnastics when I was in my Senior year of HS.  Then In my Junior year of college I joined the Rutgers University Cheerleading team.  If you don't believe me... here's proof!

After I graduated from college I began coaching All Star cheerleading at World Cup All Stars in Freehold New Jersey.  Now anyone in the All Star cheerleading world, KNOWS of World Cup.  We were/are amazing.  I was primarily a tumbling coach.  I coached from 2004 to 2007.  Here are a couple videos I made while at the gym of myself...



I wanted to share this part of my life with everyone since I already pour my heart out on here.  In 2007 we had three team qualify for the Cheerleading World Championships.  YES THERE IS A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP for cheerleading.  Like I said we took three teams:

World Cup Shooting Stars - Senior All Girl Level 5
World Cup Starlites - Junior All Girl Level 5
World Cup Odyssey - Senior Coed Level 5

Competition was fierce but... in the end Shooting Stars and Starlites won!!!!!!  Don't believe me?  Here's my World Champion ring... yes as a coach we get them too!

 So where is this going you wonder?  Well thanks to YouTube, I wanted to share the performances of our winning performances!  You can see me jumping up and down in some of these videos too haha...  things can get quite crazy!




Thought people might enjoy this!  I still go back to the gym and visit... and I judge cheerleading competitions here and there.  It was definitely like a family at that gym.  Some of my best friends still work there and I'm always welcome back with open arms.

So that's just a little bit more background on me... hope you enjoy!  Oh and yes I can still do some flips!  They usually come out when I'm drunk!  

Sunday, July 25, 2010

GMAT & B-School Journey Update!

Hello All...  at the end of my last post I said that there were a lot of things that I needed to update you guys on.  So this post will do just that.  I don't want to fall behind because there are a couple things going on later this week...

I was interviewed for MBAPodcaster:
So last week a representative over at MBA podcaster reached out to me.  She said that she was putting together a podcast related to the MBA Timeline and what candidates should do prior to applying and when.  She was tipped off to my blog by one of her colleagues.  I was excited to participate because MBA Podcaster has been very useful for me.  I found out about it last summer and have listened to all 100+ podcasts... if you don't believe me check my very post because I called it out http://bit.ly/MyFirstPost.  I will say that I was very nervous when we were talking on the phone.  I wasn't nervous because of the conversation topic, but I was nervous because I knew I was being recorded.  You guys all know that I love to talk, but something changes when you know that you're being recorded I guess.  I also think it was because I didn't want to say any school names.  When I talk freely I "name drop" all the time, but since I was making a conscious effort to not name any schools, I would trip myself up.  She reassured me that I was doing fine, aside from the couple of "speak ups", and that the podcast would turn out just fine.  I don't think it will be out until the fall.

Update on conversation with VP:
I know people are anxious to hear about this update.  Well...hhmm... it did not go as planned. :-(  The conversation I had with her was not bad by any means.  She liked the position I created and asked what I was looking for.  She also noted that I added a title change and I explained why.  I think she was surprised by that but I explained to her that since we got rid of our agency and were engaging in new initiatives that I felt that new responsibilities warranted a new title.  She didn't quite understand that, which was mind boggling to me.  Maybe I'm missing something, and you guys can correct me, but... if you're Title says that you are a Lawn Mower...and now in addition you trim hedges, plant flowers, and water the grass... wouldn't your title change to Landscaper or something like that?  At least that's how I feel.

She reassured me that her and the team have noticed the progress that I've been making.  There are still some areas with which I need to work on, but that she and my director and my manager are dedicated to helping me improve those areas.  She said "that's kind of our job... to make sure that you progress..."  Funny she says that because she leaves this week on a 3 month maternity leave.  Which brings me to my next point of discussion with her.

Let me just say that she's hardcore!  She's due this Thursday!  I asked her when she would be leaving and she said that as of right now... Wednesday will be her last day!  I said... "I think your last day should be Tuesday so that you can get a full days rest on Wednesday before your life changes for ever."  She laughed but didn't seem to agree haha.  So when people ask me if I think she'll be able to write my recommendation letter, I say that she definitely will.  She's going to give me her email address and phone number and said that I should keep in touch with her constantly to give her updates and so she can update me.  It's great having people in your corner... she's definitely on Team Richard!

InsideTheMBA.org event on Tuesday:
So last Tuesday I attended an MBA fair at the Westin Times Square... which by the way is NOT in Times Square...it's on 43rd and 8th avenue....I know why hotels do that... but it's not good for people who live in the city and hear Times Square and then walk through that horrendous crowd only to find that it's not in Times Square.  Anyway... the event was PACKED to say the least.  There were more people standing up than sitting down because there were not enough tables.  When I got there I looked for my friends Jess and Ben (called out in a prior post).  We were standing... I was eating and drinking white wine (you guys know how I feel about free alcohol).  There was a "panel" discussion for about 15 minutes and then they let us mix and mingle with the school representatives.  The reason I put "panel" in quotes is because they were standing and passing the mic between a couple of them.  It was very informal.

They allowed people to ask questions of course... and all of the questions were pretty standard.  I honestly don't know how the school representatives stomach answering the same questions over and over and over and over again.  Doesn't it get draining?  I mean how many times can you answer "What GMAT score do I need?" before wanting to pull all of your hair out?

There was one question that was asked that made everyone go "Did he/she just say that?"  I was debating whether (not whether or not because that would be redundant) to post what the question was, but I've decided that this is MY blog and I'll do as I please haha...  So the topic of discussion was about application essays.  This person asked "So you guys said what people should not do, but what can we do to make sure that the admissions committee isn't thinking, "Wow this essay blows!""  I don't know if you guys think that's inappropriate but I sure do.  That question should have been phrased differently.

I was only at the event to talk to three schools.  NYU, Cornell, and UNC Kenan-Flagler.  The crowd for Baruch and NYU were huge, so I wasn't going to take the time to speak to the NYU reps.  I'll be attending 100 other NYU events, so that wasn't a concern of mine.  At first the crowd for Cornell and UNC was huge too, so I just got some more free food and free wine and sat down at a table and waited for the crowds to die down.

I heard from a friend that UNC was making strides in the digital marketing realm, so I wanted to see if that was true.  Turns out... it's not.  So that's an excluded school.

I then spoke to Randall from Cornell.  If you guys have never met him, he's full of energy and I think is one of the most approachable people in the industry!  I remember last year I heard him give a presentation about Cornell and I was incredibly impressed with the school.  So I asked him about the curriculum pertaining to my interests and about the Johnson Means Business diversity conference.  I'm actually going to email him when I finish writing this post.  I have some questions for him.  :-)

GMAT studying:
Studying is going well.  Right now I'm going back through my MGMAT books.  Today I was going through Equations, Variables, and VIC's.  Initially when I went through these books I circled the problems I got wrong or didn't know.  I did not write in the books other than that and I advise anyone else studying does the same.  That way when you go back through the books you aren't persuaded by the answers you came up with before.  I was feeling more confident because the questions I got wrong months ago, I was now getting right for the most part.  I'm going to start studying a heck of a lot more now.  I've got to!!!  I do not want to have to take this exam again.

Kaplan event on August 8th and the sacrifice I will have to make to attend:
So on August 8th there is a Kaplan event at the Grand Hyatt.  It's called Destination Business School. It's an all encompassing 2 Day business school event.  It covers everything from Essay writing to Elevator pitches etc.  I'm looking forward to it.  I initially heard about the event last week when I went to the Ross event at the Kaplan Center.  I saw the date and quickly wrote it off because that's the weekend I was going to be in Fire Island with friends.  When I got the opportunity to go to the event I jumped at it with no question.  I'll have to cancel my one day trip even though I already paid for it, but that's not a concern for me.  I mean gotta make sacrifices right?  Who knows what I'll learn or whom I'll meet.  The opportunity cost is just too great too not attend.

So as I'm sure you all know, essays have begun rolling out.  I know that for me I've seen all of the essay questions for the schools I wish to apply too.  So in reality I could start my essays.  All that I've done thus far is add a folder to my desktop titled B-School Essays.  Within that folder there are X amount of subfolders for each school.  Right now I just have 1 document with all of that schools essay questions.  As I think about things throughout the days and weeks I just go in and jot notes under which question it would apply too for each school.  I'll go back through at a later date and then begin writing.  I haven't begun to write the essays, because well... again I've be better served by studying for the GMAT otherwise my essays won't matter.  But at least I'll have all of the information available.

I also had a call today with that HBS alum.  We spoke for 15 minutes and he gave me some incredible advice that I would not have thought of.  I'm telling you guys... if you're going through this process with me... having people at the schools you wish to apply too.. is invaluable.  They know the culture of the school and can tell you what to focus on.  Sometimes just hearing it from someone else is enough.

Fall calendar:

OMG this is filling up sooooo quickly and I'm not even done.  I've been going to the school's websites to find out when they're having events in the city or on their campuses.  I'm in a position where I'm looking for two types of events, on campus and here in my neck of the woods.  I'm looking for of course general info sessions, but more importantly events geared towards Minorities and the LGBT community.  With that being said I have a full September/October/November.  I'll give you a preview into what I have on my calendar as of right now.  Some of the events overlap and I'll have to decide which ones to attend.

September 2nd - Tuck Reception @ Yale Club
September 3rd - NYU Diversity Conference application deadline
September 6th - Ross Diversity Conference application deadline
September 19th - MBA Tour event
October 7th - 9th - NYU Diversity Conference
October 8th - 9th - Ross Diversity Conference @ Ross
October 13th - Tuck Early Action Deadline
October 14th - 17th - Reaching OUT Conference in Los Angeles
October 16th - UC Berkeley Diversity Workshop @ Berkeley
October 28th - 30th - Cornell Diversity Conference @ Cornell
November 6th - Consortium interview Deadline
November 6th - UC Berkeley LGBT event @ Berkeley
November 11th - 14th - Tuck Diversity Conference
November 15th - Consortium Application Deadline.

So yeah needless to say this fall is shaping up to be a very busy and expensive one... not sure where the funds are going to come from...if anyone wants to donate a couple thousand dollars to my bank account, I'm all for it!

This week I'll be hitting the quant side of my gmat prep HARD!

As always... take care...  beware... don't stare... who cares?  Now I'm just delirious because it's late...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pre-MBA Networking: Very Helpful!!!

Hi Guys,

So this is a topic that I've wanted to write about for the loooongest time....but life and other topics simply got in the way, so now I'm finally getting to it.

Since we're all interested in business school we should know that many, some say most, times it's not what you know but WHO you know.  I think this is true in many cases.  There is a way to network before your MBA that will help you through the process while you're navigating through applications.  This post will reference A LOT of people whom I've met this past year and have been able to help and have help me.  I can whole heartedly say that I do not think I would be this far along in the process and have the understanding that I do without having networked the sh*t out of everything.

I will add that being in NYC has been invaluable in my ability to network.  Hey if I'm here I might as well take advantage of it right?  I understand that not everyone is in my position...

Can you pick which guy I am?!? hhahaha I crack myself UP!

Below I'm going to think about the events I've been too... who I met...and how we've helped each other... and yes.. this post is embedded with Bitly's so that people can reference the full posts.  You'll be able to see... wow he's not making this up!

NYU Stern Marketing Event 2009:  Last year I attended this annual marketing event at NYU.  This was for current students and prospective students.  Here I met two important people whom I still talk to.

Person 1 - Jessica - It's funny because the end of the event consisted of a reception.  Sidenote - reception is just a formal MBA way of saying OPEN BAR.  You guys don't know me but my saying is... "If it's free...I'll take three!"  I didn't want to be a lush so I tried to contain myself, but there was a girl who said to a couple of us after the reception - "Who wants to go to a bar?"  so.... we went to a bar!  Jessica was one of the people who like myself loves to drink!  Being a minority applicant, we already had a bond knowing that the process would be slightly different for us.  We were also in the same boat because we were not applying in that current year, but would be applying this year.  Since then I have become very good friends with Jessica.  We speak on gchat everyday.  She's a member of MLT and we pass nuggets along back and for to each other about this process.  She has become an invaluable contact because sometimes just sharing App Process War stories is a good thing.

"DAMN GMAT - right Jess?  Cuz I know she's reading this right now... laughing... all the while giving me the Side Eye at her desk like, "I KNOW THIS FOOL DID NOT JUST CALL ME OUT IN HIS BLOG"... OH HONEY I DID.. I DID!  How you doing?

Person 2 - Matt - Matt was also an attendee at the marketing event.  Unlike Jessica, Matt would be applying in that current cycle.  R2 to be exact.  We bonded because we both did Digital marketing for major fashion retailers.  We kind of had the same job and similar reasons for wanting to go to business school.  He's the classic case of WHAT NOT TO DO.  He took a Manhattan GMAT in the summer of 2009 but didn't take the GMAT until December of 2009.  Then he had to write 1 ESSAY PER DAY in order to meet all of the Round 2 Deadlines.  He works a couple blocks from me and we meet up every couple of weeks to talk about our war stories.  It was interesting for me to see him go through the process and then even decisions.  I would email him "CHECK YOUR EMAIL I HEAR THAT _______ SCHOOL DECISIONS WERE JUST SENT OUT!"  Then he would email me back with the decision. He ultimately got into Darden and was waitlisted at NYU.

Harvard LGBT Reception Nov/Dec 2009:  I hadn't started my blog yet, so there isn't a Bitly link.  ;-) I also, didn't know that this contact would be a contact until much later - you'll see when if you continue reading.

Person 1 - "Banker Boy" - Before the official event kicked off, I was talking to a student who would be applying in Round 2.  We traded cards...and kept in touch, because well.. I wanted to see if he would get into HBS.  He was a nice guy and we also talk on chat.  gchat is great btw.  He applied to the top 4 schools and unfortunately was not admitted to any of them.  BTW he has a 750 GMAT score.  I actually am amazed because the first time he took the GMAT he got a 690 and then he took it again AFTER WORK and got a 750.  I was baffled.  In any event, we keep each other abreast as to which events are happening when.

Person 2 - "Neighbor" - HBS 1st Year Student - While I was talking to Person 1, a current HBS student came over to find out who we were, what we did, why we want to go to b-school... all of the standard stuff so to speak.  We traded business cards with him and went on our merry little way!  More to come on this one....

BeatTheGMAT.com Contest February 2010 - Not going to provide a Bitly, but click on any post in February and you'll see what I'm talking about!  I made an incredible invaluable contact because of this contest!

Person 1 - Brandon (Osirus) - I'm sure there will be a post after I receive an acceptance letter thanking everyone who is on Team Richard!  Brandon will definitely get thanks.  I'm not even going to go into everything he's helped me with and vice versa... But because of the contest I now have someone to text and who text's me at any time of the day with b-school sh*t on our minds.  Like Jess he is a member of MLT.  They didn't know each other because Brandon is in Chicago and Jess is here in NYC, but since they both know me... and I like to connect people...They were talking to each other THROUGH me.  Brandon would ask... How is Jess doing with such and such?  Jess would ask.. How is Brandon doing with such and such?  Of course I was the messenger, so at the very least I couldn't be shot.  They recently had a MLT conference out west and finally got to meet each other.

Sidenote - at first I hated Osirus.  I was like "Who is this other fanatical posting fool?  I don't like him... must take him down!"

Yale School of Management Visit January 2010 - http://bit.ly/YaleSOM2 :  I think the title is self explanatory.  I visited Yale...I met people there.  BAM!

Person 1 - Jonathan - All I'm going to say here is read his incredible post:  http://bit.ly/RossInterview
Person 2 - Spencer - I too met spencer during my visit.  It was funny because I almost missed my train because I was talking to him in the train station.  We exchanged contact information in the train station even though neither of us had any more business cards.  He was visiting Yale SOM for his interview.  So he had already gone through the application process.  Spencer has been a great contact 1.) because he makes me laugh on gchat everyday.  2.) because he's been able to give me insight into the life at Ross.  He too will be attending Michigan Ross this upcoming fall.

Sidenote - I wonder if it's a coincidence that the three people I met during my Yale SOM visit are all going to Ross.  Hhmm... note to self to look into that!  ;-)

Dartmouth Tuck Visit March 2010 - http://bit.ly/TuckVisit : I will not be using people's real names here, because they show up in Google searches! ;-)  Yes I know because I made the mistake accidentally in another post and was like WHOA WHOA REIGN IT IN!  and no... I'm not going to hold anything back here... You'll realize the power of the Tuck network at the end of this post.

Person 1 - "P. Diddy" - Prior to my visit I reached out to a member of the Center for Digital Strategies.  He was kind enough to invite me to sit in on a speaker.  Unfortunately the speaker cancelled but I was able to attend a luncheon with the other Center for Digital Strategies fellows.  They were planning the upcoming theme for the program.  "P. Diddy" has been an absolutely PHENOMENAL contact.  I still talk to him to this day picking his brain, sending him articles, and finding out what he's been up to.  He graduated this past spring but has offered to put me in contact with the new Center for Digital Strategies fellows, when I go back up to Tuck in the fall and interview.  Another important piece to this pie has been that all of the Fellows whom I met...yeah we're connections on LinkedIn!  So think about it this way... I now know people in my industry, who have MBA's, from a school I'll be applying too.  More importantly, he'll be able to help me hone in on the meat of one of my essays.  He's already offered!  ;-)

Person 2 - "Ocean's 11" - I reached out to another student prior to my Tuck visit who was in the African American club, for short - didn't feel like typing out the entire name of the club.  This person was unable to meet with me, so I believe she sent an email out to the whole club asking if anyone was available.  One person responded to the email and I set up a meeting with her.  Neither of them are "Ocean's 11."  "Ocean's 11"is someone who responded to the email to make sure that someone else had responded.  I told him that, yes someone did, but asked if he would be joining our coffee chat too.  Long story short - He joined and while I don't speak to either of the first two contacts, I speak to "Ocean's 11" on a near weekly basis.  He's currently doing his internship so the emails have slowed down a bit, but I will definitely 100% be tapping that resource when I'm filtering out my essays.  He and I have a lot in common and he's been to many of the conferences I wish to attend.  He's provided a lot of insight into the MBA process and just overall life of an MBA student.  For instance, I asked him one time how people live without a salary for two years.  (If you remember, I asked Jonathan a similar question).  "Ocean's 11" spoke about loan disbursements and such.  Who knew?!?!  Not I said the cat...When I get back up to Tuck I told him that I have to take him out for dinner.  "Ocean's 11" has also offered to help me hone in on the core of my essays!  ;-)

Person 3 - "Miss Mary Mack" - I reached out to the LGBT club at Dartmouth prior to visiting of course.  I was first put in touch with a student who was studying abroad.  He then forwarded my email to another 2nd year and I was able to set up a call with her.  This was a great call, and during the call I took notes.  I will say that this isn't a contact that I kept up with over the months, because I already had another contact with the LGBT community at Tuck.  I remember she too offered to read through my essays, so yes I will be going that route.  Yesterday actually, I got a message from her via LinkedIn about the upcoming Diversity Conference at Tuck.  Now mind you, I did not reach back out to her and our phone call was back in March the Sunday before I visited!  So yeah, I got a message from her about the upcoming Diversity Conference and then we began to email back and forth in gmail, with me picking her brain!  Mind you - we've never met in person because when I visited, she too was away.  She's since graduated but will be trying to get to the Diversity Conference this fall.  Hopefully I'll get to meet her in person then.

Hhmm let's see.. what was next after Tuck?  Oh Harvard!

Harvard HBS LGBT Event April 2010 - http://bit.ly/HBSLGBT: These were unexpected contacts.  I met the two of people below during the last event of the full day open house - during another Open Bar!  Are you beginning to notice the trend?!?!  Me = Lush!  if it's free.. I'll take 3!

Person 1 - Ben - I met Ben during the reception at the end of the day.  I honestly don't remember what we spoke about at all.  I just knew that we were both from NYC.  I'm sure we talked about that.  We exchanged contact information and left the event.  I remember him saying that he was taking the bus that was leaving an hour before mine to get back to the city.  Then I remember being on the bus and finding him on Facebook and sending each other messages back and forth via Facebook.  It was quite comical because we were making fun of people.  (One of my favorite past times but I'll be the first one to make fun of myself so it's OK - at least that's how I reconcile it in my head).  The next time I saw Ben was at the Dartmouth Tuck event at the Kaplan center on May 8th.  The only reason I remember that date is because it was the day I took the GMAT!  It was as if we were old friends.  When I was attending the Michigan Ross event on Monday, Ben texted me and asked me if I was going to the InsideTheMBA.org event the following day.  I hadn't even heard about it, but I registered and attended.  During that event Ben had me dying laughing.  Apparently he had been at an all day Wine tasting event and let me tell you.. he kept it going during the MBA Event!  Jessica was also at this event, and now... ::patting myself on the back::  Ben and Jessica are friends on Facebook.  He had her and her friends cracking up!

Ben, if you're reading this (I'm going to make you read it...) Thunderbird Business School will be at the Kaplan event on August 8th.  Got some questions for them?

Person 2 - "He-Man" - Midway through the page - http://bit.ly/MBAMakesMeWhat - During the HBS event, I met a current student who had a similar background to mine.  He had worked on the corporate side of retail like I was, so we swapped stories on that.  In any event, so in the link I posted above I recall the meeting that he and I had at Starbucks picking each others brains.  I know that he's dedicated to helping me flush out ideas for my HBS essays.  We actually have a call set up for Sunday @ 6pm to discuss.  I sent him the essay questions, with my ideas for each essay.  We will discuss them then... He's great!

Person 3 - "Neighbor" - So now go back to the first HBS event I attended back last fall.  Remember the 2nd person "Neighbor"?  Well now he comes into play.  So he was actually one of the organizers of the LGBT Event up at Harvard since he was now a 2nd year student.  When we were at the breakfast reception early in the morning I spoke to him because I remembered him from the previous event.  Granted - he didn't remember me...  Anyway, after the event I emailed him and thanked him for organizing it.  We emailed back and forth and it turns out that WE GREW UP IN BORDERING TOWNS.  Actually, our High Schools were rivals!  So we kind of bonded over that and I think I played against his brother in soccer!

I can think about 10 other contacts I've made, but in all honesty... I don't feel like writing it all.  It's now 1:34am and I have class tomorrow at 9.  Maybe another time I'll write it.  In conclusion though, it's been important for me to keep in touch with everyone I've met on this journey... right down to now I don't have to find a hotel to stay in when I visit Ross!  You never know who you're going to run into and who will turn into a great resource!

I think there are going to be more and more posts, because there's so much going on in my life right now that I need to update you guys... here's a preview!

- I was interviewed today for MBAPodcaster.com
- Update on conversation with VP
- InsideTheMBA.org event on Tuesday
- Kaplan event on August 8th and the sacrifice I will have to make to attend.
- Fall calendar
- Something else in the pipeline for Monday.

Yeah sooo much stuff...

IF YOU MADE IT TO THE END OF THIS POST CAN YOU PLEASE CLICK HERE:  http://bit.ly/BlogLengthTest I want track an see how many people actually read that much!  Thank you if you do!

Comments welcome!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Michigan Ross: Pre-1st Year Student Interview!

Good Morning Everyone!  I have another treat for you guys this time around.  I know that many of us are still battling the GMAT at this juncture, but I wanted to post something that provides a little insight into the months Post-Admission but yet Pre-Matriculation for an MBA student.

With all of the information available out there, I think these couple of months are not discussed very often.  I am curious as to what one does during these months, so I got an idea to well... ask someone!  I was speaking to my friend Jonathan yesterday, whom I've spoken about many times, and decided to send him a "couple" ;-) of questions regarding these specific months.  

Jonathan is one of my friends I've mentioned before who will be attending the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business this coming fall.  I'll let him tell you all about himself but I will say that Jonathan is AMAZING in that he scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT!

This is a long post, I won't apologize because I know you guys will read it all.  In order to get the most out of this post you should, Go refill your coffee, Close your office door, and Commit to reading the whole post!

1. How did you and I meet?

We met in the New Haven train station.  I had just completed my interview at Yale SOM, and you were visiting the school.  Being well-organized pre-MBAs, we had left plenty of time to catch our trains.  Coincidentally, we also hung out in the train station with two folks who will be joining me at Ross in the fall.

2.  What did you do prior to b-school?

After graduating from college in 2006, I worked for four years at a mid-size health communications and technology company in the Washington, DC area.  For the first two years, I assisted the CEO of the company with day-to-day management of multidisciplinary teams developing software products under government grants and contracts.  For the last two years, I served as product manager for a quality improvement and outcomes management tool for the providers of behavioral health services. 

I loved the work, but I realized that managing only one product was becoming limiting.  I am passionate about helping public and social sector organizations solve the strategic challenges that prevent them from delivering effective and efficient services.  The product that I worked on did that to a degree, but I wanted to work on a broader range of challenges.  That goal led me to apply to b-school with an immediate post-MBA career goal of entering management consulting.

3.  Walk us through the day that you received the email/letter/phone call of admission to Ross.

It took me totally by surprise!  It was about four or five days before the official notification deadline for R2, and I had just gotten into the office in the early afternoon after attending a conference in the morning.  My work phone rang.  The 734 area code seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it.  I assumed that it was a customer calling and picked up the phone.  I was very excited when the admissions officer on the other end told me where she was calling from!  After a pleasant but brief conversation (they have a lot of phone calls to get through), I hung up, called my parents, told my colleagues, and then tried (unsuccessfully) to focus on work the rest of the day.  My birthday was the next day, and my admission to Ross was a fantastic gift.

4.  What is the admitted students weekend called?  When was it?  Was that what sealed the deal for you in deciding to go to Ross?  Why?

All the cool kids call it “GBR.”  But the official name of Ross’s ASW is “Go Blue Rendezvous.”  Although it may be the first time that you hear the phrase “Go Blue!” as a Michigan student, it is far from the last.  GBR was in mid-April, about one month after the Round 2 notification date. 

GBR was an extremely fun, somewhat exhausting, and overwhelming compelling case to enroll at Ross.  Of course they hit all of the expected bases – the classroom experience, the career development program, the housing options, the financial aid details, the best Ann Arbor bars, etc. 

What really stood out, though, was the strength of the Ross community.  A huge number of current Ross students went out of their way to plan or participate in GBR.  Several reached out individually to me before GBR arrived to answer questions and share information.  One “Ross Ambassador” knew his classmates well enough to connect me with one who had just secured a full-time consulting position very similar to what I will be seeking.  Another student organized an informal reception in her apartment for pre-MBAs who shared her interest in organizational strategy.  It was so clear that they loved being Ross students.  They didn’t just want us to choose Ross, they wanted to help us begin a Ross experience that was as much fun as their own.

Many folks talk about how cool the Ross building is (and it is!), but what really impressed me about it was how seamlessly it supported the school’s action research teaching model and its values of trust and collaboration.  The building’s many collaborative work spaces create an environment that promotes formal work, impromptu exchanges, and socializing.  It is the physical embodiment of the school’s distinguishers. 

What was most exciting about GBR was seeing how happy current students were at Ross and how faithfully the school environment lived up to the way that Ross portrays itself.

5.  Was it painful writing that deposit check or a sigh of relief at that juncture?

In comparison to the full cost of tuition, it was a drop in the bucket.

6.  Did your job know you were applying to business school?  If not, how did you break the news to them that you were accepted and would be leaving?  If they did know, how did you decide when your last work day would be?

I was upfront with my employer about my plans.  Although there are plenty of things that I would do differently if I were going through the application process again, I would try to replicate this aspect of my approach.  It was good for my employer and for me.  We were able to plan and implement a smooth personnel transition that aligned with our strategy for the product that I managed, I was able to ask my boss and a customer to write recommendations for me, and I didn’t have to feel any anxiety about studying for the GMAT in my office (after hours!) or breaking the news.  I know that not everyone can be as open as I was, but I strongly recommend it if it’s possible.  If your boss is even somewhat enlightened, he or she will appreciate the time to plan ahead.  Even more importantly, there are enough things to get stressed about while applying without having to sneak around!

I gave a lot of thought to the question of when to stop working.  I used the promise of some time off as a motivator for myself when I was studying for the GMAT and writing essays.  So, I wanted to make good on that promise and reward myself.  I also balanced the following factors: 

a) having enough time off to see my family, travel abroad, and arrive in Ann Arbor relaxed and focused,
b) having some time in DC after quitting work to pack up and say goodbye to friends,
c) drawing as many paychecks as possible, and
d) having enough time at work to train up my replacement. 

Ultimately, I chose July 2 as my last day, setting up the 4
th of July weekend a celebration of my independence from employment as well as our nation’s independence.  It ended up feeling like the right date for me.

7.  How did you prepare to essentially be salary(less) for a full year until your internship?  A lot in savings?

To be honest, I don’t feel fully prepared to go 11 months without a four-figure sum of money being deposited into my bank account every two weeks.  I did save as much money as I could for b-school, but I will still be taking out substantial loans.  Since b-school tends to attract students who have already been professionally successful and who plan on being professionally successful in the future, the adjustment to a student budget and lifestyle seems to be a common concern.  I am optimistic that the Ross experience will be so much fun and so much work that I won’t have the time or energy to worry about fine dining, weekend trips to Vegas, or any of the other ways that I’ve found to spend money over the last four years.  But we’ll see.  The good news is that b-school is significantly shorter than many graduate programs and has among the best ROIs.  Plus, they teach you budgeting as part of the curriculum ;)

More seriously, your question raises the broader issue of the sacrifices involved in going to business school.  During the application process, it is easy and perhaps even helpful to focus on the many exciting aspects of returning to school.  But once b-school stopped being an abstract goal and started being an imminent reality, I began to feel the attendant financial, professional, and social sacrifices more acutely. I realized that I was giving up over $200,000 in tuition plus foregone earnings, leaving a work environment that I really enjoyed, trading down in housing, and moving 800 miles away from some of my best friends.  I am very confident that the Ross experience and the opportunities it provides are well worth those sacrifices.  But I would encourage your readers to make sure that the unique sacrifices involved in any decision to get an MBA are worth it to them.  If you take a clear-eyed look at the sacrifices and then decide that the benefits outweigh them, you will be positioned to make a more confident and coherent case to MBA programs on why they should let you in. 

8.  Let's say your last day of work was July 1st and you classes don't start until September 1st (exact dates are irrelevant) - What does a pre-matriculated MBA student do for 2 months?

The easy answer here would be, “Whatever you want!”  To a degree that’s true.  The most popular activities among my fellow Ross 1MBAs seem to be travelling & relaxing.  I’ll be spending all of August abroad.  Ross has an awesome program called M-Trek, in which groups of incoming students travel together to destinations around the world in groups of about 8-10.  Each trip is planned and led by 3-4 rising 2MBAs.  Everyone who has done it says it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get to know fellow students.  I’m looking forward to doing M-Trek in Barcelona.  Before that, I will be travelling on my own in other parts of Spain and visiting friends in Israel.  Right now, I’m spending several weeks with my family in Los Angeles, which is something I haven’t had the opportunity to do since college.  I also spent two weeks in DC after stopping work to ease the transition.

Even though there is virtually nothing that you “have to do” during your summer, I am also doing some low-intensity prep for b-school.  I’ve attended a handful of formal and informal receptions, happy hours, and events for incoming Ross students (these are actually really fun), completed a career assessment, and networked with some recent alumni who work in consulting.  I’m also taking a course on MBAMath.com to bone up on the quant skills likely be called upon during 1MBA.

9.  You asked me earlier if I had ever heard of MBAMath.com.  Why do you feel it necessary to brush up on these Quant skills?

I think of MBAMath.com and similar programs as more of a comfort than a necessity.  Presumably, the admissions officers for competitive MBA programs only admit students whom they are confident can do the work.  However, I know that I have had significantly less day-to-day exposure to quant work than some of my fellow students.  Considering the full price of an MBA, $150 seems like a good investment if it means that I will walk into class on day one with an added layer of confidence.

10.  What do you know now about the whole pre-MBA experience, that you wish you knew prior to applying?

A lot.  Here are the things that stand out:
Program Diversity - I did not anticipate what great differences exist between top MBA programs in terms of curriculum structure, functional specialties, culture, signature classes/experiences, industry/recruiter relationships, and even grading systems!  I wish that I had started researching schools earlier and been more selective in applying only to schools that were good fits for me.
Application Workload.  If you do your applications the right way, they will take a long time.  It is essential to tailor each application in order to present the aspects of your narrative that best match the school’s unique qualities.  If you can’t make a compelling case for a good match with a particular school, you may want to consider whether you are in fact a good match and whether your ~$200 application fee might be better spent elsewhere.

How Early to Start - The above two points suggest this third one.  I wish that I had been more systematic in keeping track of b-school’s local events, planning campus visits, and reaching out to current students.  It’s hard to do all that while working at a full time job, and no one can do it all.  But those are themselves arguments to start as early as possible.

How Good Admissions Officers Are - This is easy for me to say now that I know where I am going to school in the fall, but I think that the schools that I applied to did a good job of figuring out whether I would actually be successful and happy in their programs.  I think that at least one or two of my rejections were actually blessings in disguise.

As a bonus, here’s one thing that I did know before I applied that I’m glad I knew:
Why I was applying.  Truly understanding why you want to go to business school, why now is the right time, and what you plan to do with an MBA are invaluable.  This insight into yourself will not only make selecting schools and writing applications easier, it will allow you to dive into the b-school experience from the moment that you’re admitted.

11.  When I come to visit Ross can I stay with you?  ;-)

Of course!  As long as you quit smoking by then.

If you have further questions just leave a comment, and I'm sure Jonathan will be happy to answer them! I'll post his replied in the comment box!

If you'd like to read more about the day I met Jonathan at Yale... click here:  http://bit.ly/YaleSOM


Monday, July 19, 2010

Thinking about an MBA Everyday!

Hello All... 

I've been on a posting rampage as of lately!  So many things have come up and I feel the need to get it all out and on "paper" immediately.  If not, I'm going to forget stuff and blah blah who cares haha...  I'm actually studying right now... doing RC but I needed to take a break.  1.5 hours of RC straight makes my head spin!  I feel like I'm seeing double right now... I should really go have a cigarette downstairs...actually I'm going to do just that...

So today I attended an JD/MBA information session at the midtown Kaplan center for the Stephen Ross School of Business.  I took away a couple little nuggets ::grabs notes:: 

1.  The GMAT is a good gauge to tell you if you are admissible RELATIVE TO THE LAST ADMITTED CLASS... I thought that was very poignant!

2.  1 Page Resume (which I think may be hard for me.. I've had 3 jobs thus far)...In the resume ask yourself 
"What does this tell the admissions committee about me?" 
- "What value did you add to your company?" 
- "What impact did you have on your organization?"

Just some things to think about... 

On another note.. while I was in class I got a text message from one of my friends asking me if I was attending the InsideTheMBA.org event tomorrow.  I didn't even know about it to be honest...so I went to the website on my phone and registered.  I'm interested in learning about three schools...Cornell Johnson...NYU...and UNC Kenan-Flagler.  Brandon (Osirus) keeps telling me that I need to look into UNC... so that's what I'll be doing.

I thought I was going to have a day off tomorrow because I have a HELLA packed week!

Monday - Work then Ross event
Tuesday - Work then MBA Fair
Wednesday - Work then my last Statistics class
Thursday - Work then a work Networking Event at the Roger Smith Hotel (Aka the Social Media hotel)
Friday - Digital Marketing Class
Saturday - Digital Marketing Class (LAST ONE TO COMPLETE MY CERTIFICATE!!!)

Most importantly I need to fit in study time!  Otherwise all of this research and preparation will be fruitless!  Speaking of studying... I'm going to go do that right now...  after my cigarette of course!  

Oh also... I have to post an update on the 22nd.  I'm having a meeting with my VP.  She's going on maternity leave next week and we're supposed to talk about the recommendation letter.  She doesn't even know which schools I'm interested in...  If you don't know what I'm talking about... read the post:  http://bit.ly/Recommender

Until we meet again!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Top 3 Business Related Video Clips! Must Watch

I want to lighten things up a bit...  Here is a compilation of GREAT business related videos that I've found throughout the years...at the end of this post is a Poll question... let's see which one you guys think is the best!

Since I'm making this post so close to the last one...check out my last post about Using a Business School Consultant: http://bit.ly/BSchoolConsultant

Banker & Analyst

If you have never seen Boiler Room you are not serious about going to Business School!

I used to have this speech memorized!  Hhmm wonder what happened...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Use an MBA Admissions Consultant?

Hi Everyone.. this post is long overdue.  I received and email from blog reader earlier this week about MBA Consultants.  Essentially, this person wanted to know my take on them.  I responded back asking if it would be alright if I wrote a post about it instead of responding in the email because I'm getting this question more and more as we get into the throws of the application season.

The person asked "I am looking for a good admission consultant. I read about veritas prep consultants in your blog...how are they? How much should one have prepared to start using consultants? Any suggestions will help...."

So let me inform you guys on my story first.  Back in February Beat The GMAT ran a contest giving away some incredible prizes.  The contest was easy... over the course of a month the top 5 users whom posted the most would get to choose from an array of prizes.  These were not little rinky dink prizes either.  You can read more about the beginning of the contest here: http://bit.ly/BTGContest.  

The contest started out nice but was grueling.  I believe I ended up with 999 posts over the 30 day period.  Yes that's a lot I know!  The prize package I chose was the Veritas Prep MBA Consulting package.  I think most other people chose one of the GMAT courses.  I was already enrolled in Manhattan GMAT, so the consulting package was the prize that appealed to me the most.  Not to mention a 1 school consulting package from Veritas prep is worth something like $2800! 

So that's the background on that...  so let's get into the meat of the topic...I can only speak from personal experience with Veritas.  I have not even considered or researched any other MBA Consultants.

1.  Hey consultant!  are you qualified?


Tip 1 - They are going to be objective in your candidacy and tear your application apart, which is good, so you have a right to know about them and why they're qualified.

2.  How hard will you work for me?

If you're vetting consultants, you should definitely look into this and compare packages.  The first questions I would want to ask is how many other applicants they'll be working with in the season you'll be applying.  I mean someone can be an incredible consultant but if they're working with 15 candidates, how dedicated will they be to your candidacy?

Even though I have a consultant, for some reason I don't feel that I'm in a position to complain at all since the package was a prize haha...

Tip 2 - Ask the potential consultant how many other candidates they're working with.  If you speak with the owner of the company ask them, how they decide who to pass your application too.

3.  How much should you prepare before hiring a consultant?

Well I'm not sure with other MBA consultants, but with Veritas... you better have a laid out plan as to where you want to go and what you want to do hahaah... at least that's how I feel.  So back in March I was sent a 3 paged questionnaire to fill out for my consultant.  You may be thinking ok that doesn't seem that difficult.  You have the normal questions right...like... Name, address, gpa, undergrad institution... ok that's fine...  but then.. BAM:  Why an MBA?  Why now?  Professional History?  Career aspirations? Potential Recommenders?

WTF where did that come from?  In total that questionnaire took me about 4/5 hours to fill out and ended up being I want to say like 9 pages - NOT DOUBLE SPACED!  Some of you may be thinking - well that seems like a lot to do!  Well yeah it is... but in all honesty, if you're thinking about going to business school and you're to the point where you think you may need a consultant to help you out... you should have all of those questions answered already.  The formality is simply putting it down on paper.

Mine was 9 pages and took 4/5 hours for two reasons.  The first is that I felt that I finally needed to do a brain dump (I really hate this corporate buzz word, but it's fitting in this sense) of everything swirling around in my head and the questionnaire gave me the outlet to do so.  The second reason I wanted to do a good job is because I thought that by giving my consultant the most information possible, she would be in a better position to steer me in the right way.  

I don't think I've been bound to what I said back in March, because my plans have changed slightly since then, but it provides an incredible baseline for the both of us.  Also, you realize how much work you really need to do.  When I get some extra time, I'm going to go back through the document and see how naive I was back then haha... that'll be a real confidence booster!

Tip 3 - Do you and your consultant a favor.  Do your research and come with a list of schools you wish to apply to.

4.  What a consultant is not.

A consultant should not be used for the purpose of deciding which schools you should apply to.  I mean they should manage expectations if you go to them and say I want to go to Insead and that's the only school I want to go to.  Then they should come back with... do you speak 2 languages fluently and are you ready to learn a 3rd one while in school?  If the answer is no, then they should advise against applying to Insead since that's a REQUIREMENT.  No, I'm not joking... it's a requirement at Insead haha... talk about a high barrier to entry huh?  hahaha

Tip 4 - Do not expect your consultant to pick your schools for you.

5.  Do not take things personally and don't get defensive.

This one is a biggie.  Remember their goal is to get you to a point where you can say.  If I spend any more time on my application it won't get better.  This is the best application that I can submit.  I will tell you now that the consultant will and SHOULD expose the holes in your candidacy.  It's definitely counterintuitive.  We all want to go with our ideas that we think are great whether it be topics for essays or what we think we should highlight in our application.  A good consultant will say whether he/she (not "They" because "consultant" is singular therefore it needs a singular pronoun  ;-) )  thinks that your ideas are good.  Don't get me wrong, the consultant won't simply say that it's a good idea or bad idea, but a GOOD one will work with you and help you formulate the correct plan.  It may not be that your ideas are bad, but it just needs to be done in a different manner.

Tip 5 - If you have or find a consultant that agrees with you on everything you present to them... ask yourself "Why am I paying you?"

6.  No relevant question is inappropriate?

Ask these questions -  
How many times do we speak?  
Is there a time limit during our calls or meetings?  
Do you reformat and/or help me with my resume?  
How many times will we go over my essays?
Will you help me pick recommenders and tell me how to approach them?
Have you worked with other candidates applying to school X?

Tip 6 - Remember that you're paying THEM thousands of dollars... in the end they work for you so you should be able to get any question answered.

7.  Expose yourself because you'll cut through the bullsh*t.

This is a big one for me.  I know where my weakness is.  It's my GPA.  It's not that I'm dumb or stupid, but I wasn't focused in undergrad.  I went to school on a full academic scholarship but had no desire to go to business school post-undergrad.  So with that came some complacency.  I know that my weakness is my GPA and I'm ok with that because I think the rest of my application will outshine my sub-par performance.  I was upfront about this with my consultant back in March.  

I didn't see a point in hiding this information from her because A.) It would be exposed anyway and B.) By being upfront with her, she could start to formulate ideas for how we can remedy the situation.  It's tough to be upfront about holes in your candidacy because we all want to focus on the positives, but hey guess what people... the Admissions Committee will focus on the negatives if you don't explain them!

In my case, my consultant keeps reiterating the importance of the GMAT...hahaha...how cyclical right?

Tip 7 - Expose your weakness so you can take steps to mitigate it.

8.  Are you my shrink?

I don't know how most MBA Consultants feel about this but when I have a lot swirling around in my head about the process itself or something that has happened with work, I may email my consultant to get her thoughts.  Sometimes I'm just looking for either validation or some objective thoughts.  I've typed some really long emails to her before and she always responds.  She doesn't type paragraphs back to me, but I wouldn't expect her too.  At the end of my rants I always ask questions and she ALWAYS answers those.  

I think this goes back to their qualifications... if they've been through the process of applying before, they'll understand why you're feeling the way you are.  

Tip 8 - It's OK to rant and rave, but ultimately what are YOU doing about it?

9.  A La Carte services?

If you can't afford a full comprehensive consulting package, definitely look into a la carte options.  In my opinion at the very least, the essay editing is the most important for crafting your story.  In all other areas numbers will speak for themselves.  Our GPA's and GMAT scores will inevitably be compared to those of other applicants.  Our essays are where we can separate ourselves from the masses.  The $200-$300 you may spend to have someone review your essays is worth it, and I've heard this from multiple sources.

Tip 9 - Remember...you'll be competing against people who have used these services and have very refined applications!  not mentioning any names  ;-)  hahahaahha...  but yeah I had no idea the market for MBA Consultants was as large as it is.  At first I thought, "Who can afford this?"  For instance an 8 school package from Veritas is $8,100!!!  I mean I know there are people out there in certain industries ::cough cough banking cough:: who can write a check like that without even batting an eye.  To them that's just a great weekend of partying!

My experience with my consultant thus far has been great!  The more I interact with her and hear her thoughts, the more I wonder how people can go through this application process without a consultant.  We have not gotten into speaking on the regular simply because my top application is not out yet, but I know that if I email her... she'll respond.  

If you're thinking about getting a consultant here are some links:
MBA Admissions Consultants Podcast: http://bit.ly/MBAConsultant
Veritas Prep Consulting:  http://bit.ly/VeritasConsulting
Copyright © 2012 · museodeartecarrillogil , All rights reserved | Proudly Powered by