Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Letter to My Social Life...

Dear Social Life,

Oh How I Miss Thee!!!  To not fret my pet, we will be reunited very shortly!  We've been separated for quite some time now and I don't want you to think that I've shunned you.  I also don't want you to think that I've been cheating on you with the GMAT and applications.

I know you aren't too fond of them but I've had to cut you out of my life for them - but I'm ultimately doing it for you!  I hope that you understand that it's been a very long and arduous year for me.  A day has not gone by that I have not reminisced about the times we used to have together.  ::sigh:: those were the days!  I know it's tough and frustrating for you to see your peers reuniting with their human counterparts, I feel your pain, but we will get though this!

I am embarking upon this journey for us...well... for you!  After I get my MBA we will be able to enjoy our time together even more!  Think about all of the fun trips we will be afford to go on.  Think about all of the new people we will get to interact with!  Yeah, go ahead and smile, I smile at the thought every time.

After my applications are in by January 5th, I will treat you to a nice relaxing mini-vacation and it will be very enjoyable.  I'm envisioning some place warm with lots of alcohol and no cell phone service or internet access.  That way we will be able to rekindle our relationship and re-live the old times.

But I must warn you that we will only have a couple months together, because once school stars in the Fall I will be even busier than I am now, so we must make the most of our time together.

Richard Battle-Baxter

Video and Audio Essay: Best Practices

I love having my blog because as a result people send me great resources.  

Today Sarah from Accepted.com sent me, what I'm going to call a WhitePaper, on the best practices for creating Audio and Video essays.  I took a look at it earlier today, after I downloaded it, and it's very useful!!!  So for anyone out there in the same boat as me take a look at this...

Audio - Video Essay Best Practices from Accepted.com.

As I was reading through it, I was making a checklist in my head to make sure I did everything as prescribed.  Most of it I had done but there were some things that just simply did not apply.  It's also tough because my essay can only be 90 seconds long.  Some may think that 90 seconds is enough time, but it's not.  Try reading a 400 word essay OUTLOUD while enunciating in 90 seconds.  Pretty tough if not impossible to do.

You all know that I tend to ramble.  Getting everything to fit in those 90 seconds has been tough.  I've gone through a whole legal pad with script edits.  I've gotten to the point now where I don't need my script and can simply speak what it is I want to say.  This makes for a better video.  I wish I could show it to you guys, but I'll refrain from putting too much of my business out there.  

I do like it thought - if I may say so myself.  It's been a blast learning to use all of these default movie editing programs on my Mac that I've had for two years!  I remember getting it and said to myself "why are Garageband and iMovie default programs on this thing!  I need Excel!"

So yeah on that note...  I must be going to sleep now.  I'm sick so I'm trying to get tons of rest!

Adios Amigos

Chief Digital Officer - New C-Suite Addition

This article is from AdAge.com and I read it a couple of days ago.

Michael Learmoth writes - "It's a good time to be a "chief digital officer," or at least play one inside a media organization. After a brief heyday mid-decade, the concept of the CDO seemed to be in decline as the job of distributing old media -- TV, magazines, radio -- in digital platforms reverted to the heads of those business themselves."

Read the article here:  Old Media Decides Digital Still Needs a 'Chief'

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back in the closet: Huh?

I love my family... really I do but they're still over my house from Thanksgiving!  At this point I'm not even sure when they're going to be leaving.  I do know that I have work tomorrow so none of my cousins are going to be sleeping with me tonight!  I also think one of them got me sick - which I told them "Yeah I have the biggest exam of my life (again) pretty soon, so I need to stay away from you.  

In any event the title of this post is funny because today I really did go back into the closet - anecdotally.  As I mentioned in my last post, my goal is to have my Tuck video essay completed today!  In order to do this I needed total peace and quiet so that I could record the voiceovers to the video.  I went downstairs and saw my 10 year old cousin playing on the steps saying that she was the guard.  I'm not sure what she was the guard to, but I  thought quickly on my feet and said "Great... you can help me out with something."  

I told her  that when I was trying to record the voiceover before people kept coming upstairs and my microphone was picking up their noise.  So I needed for her to sit at the bottom of the stairs with a sign saying "No One Allowed Upstairs" so that I could record in peace and quiet.  After I gave her the art project of making that sign (remember 10 yrs old...she was just happy that someone was "playing" with her) I told her to just sit on the steps.  

Then I got a lamp... went into my walk-in closet...closed the door and recorded the voiceover.  Since I moved back home I don't have much furniture in my room, so I had to go into the closet so there wasn't an echoing going on in the background.  So as I'm sitting on the floor in my closet, I'm rehearsing my script lol.  Funny sight, but the mission was accomplished!!!

Right now I'm waiting for iMovie to export the video and then I'm going to burn it to a DVD and forget allll about it!  Next up on the agenda today is to complete the "Why MBA" essay and send that off to my consultant.

This is not my closet YET!

And with that... it's done exporting, so I gotta go!  Adios

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jan 5 is just around the Riverbend!

Happy Post-Thanksgiving/Black Friday everyone!!!  I had a great thanksgiving and am stuffed.  The only thing is that I'm tired of eating leftovers.  I had about 24 people over my house so you can imagine the amount of food that we had.  So of course I ate it for Thanksgiving dinner...then whenever we wanted to have a snack...that's what we ate.  Then for breakfast we had leftovers....then for lunch we had leftovers....and dinner again lol. Needless to say I need something new for my palate.

I've realized that I haven't given a business school update lately.  So I think that I should do that.  I'm beginning to feel the pressure of the January 5th deadline.

Essays - my Dartmouth video essay will be completed this weekend thankfully!  I also have to finish my "Why MBA" essay so that I can get this show on the road.

Recommendations - I have meetings with my recommenders on Monday and Tuesday, although I don't think that I'll be able to sit down with them on Monday with it being Cyber Monday and all.  Things get a tad bit crazy around that time for us.

GMAT - It's about that time!  So as long as I get my video done as well as that general why MBA essay done, I'll be dedicated to the GMAT for the final time!  I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL THIS SAGA IS OVER!  Almost there...

SOCIAL LIFE - In anticipation of getting my life back on January 6th, I'm going to be planning a party in the city and invite all of my friends who are going through this process.

Well I'm done typing for the night.  Right now I'm laying in bed with two of my cousins.  We're apparently having a sleep over haha.  There are still so many people here at my house.  5 people are sleeping in my room and because I didn't want to give up my bed.

Business School Correspondence

Ok so I just completed the Michigan post, and now I’m going to write another post since I have another hour until I get to the city.  BTW to people who live in the Tri-State area, “The City” refers to NYC.  It is truly THE CITY and that is not to be debated!  When I ran into that guy at Michigan who I went to school with he asked what I was up to, and I said “I work in the city” and he immediately turned to his friends and said “See what I’m talking about?  It’s THE CITY!”  So I guess at some point in time they had some debate over that, and I’m sure his friends lost.
Anyway this post is not about that.  I want to address something that I’ve noticed this fall and that is Business School correspondance with students.  As I’m sure everyone has noticed, our email inboxes are flooded with memos, interview requests, deadline reminders, and other information from business schools.  Some are welcome and useful, while others, would be considered spam had we not opted to share our email information!  There are two topics I would like to speak about during this post.
The first topic - School Events
As you know I’ve applied to my fair share of “specialty” conferences.  There are minority events, women events, lgbt events, and I’m sure many others.  Many of these conferences have deadlines and we all clamor to get our applications in by the deadlines and then participate in the waiting game.  For me, it has literally been the waiting game, since I was waitlisted to two conferences.  Technically, I’m still on the waitlist even though the conferences have ceased to notify me that they would not have space.  I’m not sure if that’s a function of me not following up with them or not.  It’s not something I’ve had to do in the past and didn’t have an guidance on.
At a certain point, I wanted to see how the story would end.  Maybe I’m naive in thinking that schools would say “Hey sorry, we will not be able to accomodate you.”  The reason I think its important for schools to take this action is simple.  Since my experience has been that schools do not do this, it would distinguish them from their peer schools who do not.  

I know from my end it’s tough to sit there and wonder if you’ve been accepted to one of these events, especially when one has to think about taking off from work and making travel plans.  As much as I think schools think that people can just put their lives on pause in an instant, many people cannot.  What if someone has a child and needs to find childcare for that weekend or something?
I’m not saying that schools should cater to everyone but I think a courtesy email saying “Hey, we won’t be able to accomodate you,” would suffice.  ESPECIALLY if the school says that you should hear a response by X deadline.  My friend was waiting to hear back from a school and finally heard from the school 3 days after the deadline.  It’s not like the event was 3 months away, but it was like 2 weeks away!  Mind boggling to me...
So to that end, I take notice of the way schools manage their communications with prospective students.  If they take note of all of our correspondance and expect us to adhere to deadlines, is it ludicrous for us to expect the same?  I don’t think so, although I wouldn’t totally write off a school for this reason, but it would leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Second Topic - “Random” School prospecting
I receive about 10 emails from “random” schools every day.  I don’t mind it because I spent my life in my inbox, so I just delete them when they come through if I don’t think they’re pertinent at all.  Now I know that when I sign up on MBA.com or attend MBA fairs, I’m usually opting into all of these email lists, which is fine because I know how to opt out. 
BUT... I find it comical when in the last week in November I receive emails from schools saying “Hey... school X deadline is near!”  or “Hey...come visit school X!”  I just say to myself - “Does this school think that I’ll be able to honestly prepare an application, find recommenders, and visit the school in a 2 week period, while I have all of my other schools to do?”  I know that schools usually don’t care if one has other applications to do, but I feel like if you’ve had no contact with a school and they’re essentially prospecting, then they should take that into account otherwise they’re waiting money emailing to their listserv.  If anything I think those emails should be sent out in September/October saying “Hey research our program!”  At least then maybe the email open rates would be higher because you’re catching people when they’re high up in the funnel and in the research state.
If I’m not applying to School X and the first thing I get in my inbox about School X is about their deadlines, I don’t feel compelled to open it.  But, in September, when I was researching schools, if I got an email about School X suggesting that I look into their school, I would be more inclined to open the email.  
Just some things I’ve noticed on this journey!  ;-)  I’m still on the bus, but am going to stop writing this post now. I have about 20 minutes left and it’s my turn in playing WordsWithFriends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Michigan Ross Visit! Days 1,2,3 and 4

So I’m back from MIchigan now and had a wonderful trip!  I’m going to write this debrief on the bus home from work and I have about 30 minutes to do so.  Once I get home I need to finish an essay as well as do some GMAT studying.  So yeah, it’s GO time!
Thursday - I got to A2 around 8pm and hopped in a cab from the airport to my friend’s friend’s apartment.  I stayed there for the night because my friend whose apartment I was supposed to stay at was not feeling well and he had to get up early in the morning for an interview.  It all worked out in the end because I got to meet more people!  You guys know how much I love to do that.  So yeah we hung out at his apartment and walked over to his friends house in the same development.  She too is a 2nd year student at Ross and was working on this very cool project since she’s a member of Tauber.  My host for the night interned at Amazon and I mentioned that I knew someone from Tuck who also interned at Amazon.  Of course it turns out that they know one another.  Small world huh?
Friday - woke up early, showered, shaved, blah blah...Then went to campus for a 9:30 start.  There were about 15 prospectives in the room in the Ross building.  I might as well stop now and explain this building - exquisite.  I beleive they said it was completed in 2009 and it definitely shows.  Look at pictures of it online and then multiply your vision by 3 and that’s what it actually feels like to be in the building.  It’s much different from another school I visited in New England.  I decided to say it like that because yeah, there are three schools I’ve visited in New England so you won’t know which one I’m referring too.  
Anyway so the first thing on the agenda was a Q&A with current students.  I knew both of the students on the panel since I met them at the Reaching Out conference.  I didn’t ask any questions but rather just let others ask their questions.  I did take some notes though.  After that Q&A session we went on a campus tour.  I should say building tour, because I guess the only school I’ve visited that has a “campus” per se is HBS.  Not much to say here about the campus tour except there are multiple floors, multiple class rooms, a gym that looks like an Equinox, and a really nice auditorium.
After the campus tour was an hour long session with the Office of Career Development.  Not much new information here given the fact that I’ve sat through so many of those sessions at each school.  But what did strike me as important is the sheer number of recruiters that recruit at Ross.  Of course it’s a top b-school, so you’ll get many recruiters, but I don’t think many people understand how many.  Ross had the most summer interns at Amazon.com at 20 interns, and in 2nd place was Dartmouth with 7 interns, so Ross is phenomenal for recruiting purposes, at least that’s the sense I was left with.
After the OCD session it was time to have lunch with current students.  Well one of the students was my host the prior night and the other student was someone whom I met at Reaching Out and then kept in touch with up until that point, so it was fine and dandy with me.  I think lunch went for about an hour and then that was it for the day.  So then I went back to my host’s apartment and we watched a movie and I fell asleep on the couch.  He had to go to a dinner and I was still waiting for my origina host/friend to get back from his event for the day, so I told my host that my friend lived in the same apartment building as another guy and he immediately knew who he was and called him up to see if I could hang out there until my friend got back.  Of course the other student said yes, I think he knew I was in town, and my host drove me over to his apartment. We chatted it up a bit and I worked on some essays while he did some school work.  Then my friend came home and I walked across the hall and plopped down on his couch.
At this point for him it wasn’t like “phew... the day is done.. what shall we do?”  It was more like... “Phew... I’m home... now I have to call this person to get some information on this company I’m recruiting for.”  So I didn’t want to impose so I just threw on my headphones and watched an episode of the Office on Hulu.  When 1st years say that they are incredibly busy 24/7....THEY ARE NOT KIDDING!  They are always doing something or emailing someone.
After my friend was done with his phone call we went to grab a bite to eat in town, which was very cute.  It was obviously larger than Hanover, and I imagine it’s smaller than New Haven CT, but I could be mistaken.  At least the downtown area...  But yeah so at dinner I got a different feeling for my surroundings.  I didn’t feel like I was in a young college town with a bunch of undergrads.  It felt like a mature but young... grad school/post grad school feeling.  I don’t know how to describe it, but I could definitely see myself there for two years.  Much different feeling from Ithaca, NY.  MUCH!
After dinner my friend and I walked over to a bar where a couple guys were hanging out drinking and then we took a cab back to his place.  Since he had an early flight in the morning and I didn’t want to wake him up if I stayed out, I told him that I would stay at someone elses apartment that night if I had his keys.  Since it was Friday and I had no set agenda for the rest of the weekend, I definitely wanted to go out to a gay bar to see what that was like in Ann Arbor.  I met back up with those other students and had a dirty martini at Black Pearl.  Then I got a text from my other friend whom I met at Yale back in February that he was around the block.  So since I hadn’t seen him since that visit, although we speak on gchat quite frequently, I met up with him after my friends and I left that other bar and were on our way to Necto.  
It was great to see him again and hear about his b-school experiences thus far.  His friend had just gotten into town so they were shooting the sh_t too.  It was funny because my friend went to Columbia and now goes to Ross and my other friend (1 of the students I had lunch with/same person I was at the bar with) went to Columbia and goes to Ross.  Even though they were at Columbia two different times, I figured I should introduce them, but as I was telling my friend this his friend was like “wait what’s your friends name?”  I told him his name and he said “I know him!  We did a project together... etc etc”  It was just random... how am I in Michigan visiting the b-school and making connections introducing people to one another?  But then I realized... This is how my life usually goes!!
So after I spent some time with them it was time for me to go dance.  I walked to the bar to meet up with the other group of people and a bunch of students who are part of the LGBT club.  Needless to say there was lots of Lady Gaga....Alcohol...and fun times had by all.  I ended up being able to stay at a students apartment who lived in the same complex as my friend  but who I hadn’t met until that night.  Granted everyone was so gracious when I was out there, and I was just making new friends all over the place. 
In the morning I went tailgating!  It was actually my friend collegiate tailgating experience.  Yes yes, I went to Rutgers which is a Division I-A school, but remember, I was a cheerleader in college so there was definitely no drinking before football games!  We were practicing!  So I figured.... why not have my first tailgating experience be a big one... Michigan’s last home game!   While tailgaiting I had a chance to introduce my friends who went to Columbia to one another.  It’s funny because they both have the same first name.  I think they both read this too so they’re either smiling right now or saying to themselves “he’s so random.”  
In any event, yeah... hhmmm..  oh... After tailgating I went over to a 2nd years house.  I actually met her the first night that I was there because she was at my first host’s friend’s house.  I know that’s tough to follow, but think about it slowly and you’ll get it!  So yeah it was great speaking to her because she’s very easy to talk to and was telling me about her experience with recruiting and things like that.  She’s going into brand management, and since that’s something I’m considering it was good to get an insiders perspective.  She gave me a ton of great insight!  a TON!
Ok gotta go.... time to get off the bus!
Ok 12 hours later and I’m back... it’s the morning and I’m back on the bus on my way to work!  Literally 12 hours hahaha.. I got off the bus at 7:37pm and it’s now 7:37am!  In any event let me continue my story.
So yeah the 2nd year student gave me a ton of great insight.  Then she drove me to my friends house, the original persons house I was going to be staying at.  Funny that I went to Michigan with the intention of staying at his place all weekend, but ended up staying there once, which goes to show how accomodating the Ross students I met are!
I took a nap and watched some tv while editing my essays and then called an old childhood friend whom I used to do gymnastics with.  He went to Michigan for undergrad and still lives in Ann Arbor, so since I hadn’t seen him in like 7 years and I was his in town, it would be a good time for us to catch up again.  We went to get dinner at Applebees.  After that I went back home to vegitate.
I spent the whole night on the couch and got some sleep.  Then in the morning I got a text message from one of the students I was hanging out with all weekend, asking if I wanted to get breakfast.  He picked me up and we went to a dinner not to far from my friends apartment.  His friend was with him so we all had a nice conversation.  
I urge everyone to visit schools but more importantly reach out to current students and be their shadow as much as you can without imposing too much.  I learn more about the school from simply listening to the students talk to one another than attending school events.  
While we were sitting at the diner, I noticed someone else who looked familiar to me but not from this MBA process but rather from my senior year in college in 2003/2004!  There was a guy sitting at a table not too far from me who looked very familiar and then I realized that he lived in my dorm at Rutgers my senior year!!  I couldn’t remember his name, so I called my college roommate to ask him and he told me what the guys name was.  So after we finished eating I went over to him and asking him probing questions to see if it was indeed him and low and behold...it was!  Now THAT was random!
So really quick... the end to my trip is that my childhood friend was kind enough to drive me to the airport so I didn’t have to spend $50 on a cab and then I got home!  That’s it hahaha.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Repeating in Essays is an Art

I'm going to call out the most appropriate title of an MBA Consultant out there.  No she is not the one I am using nor did she ask me to say this, but the title of her company is ON POINT!  Kaneisha Grayson hit the nail on the head by using the title "The Art of Applying."  I could not agree more and there is definitely an art to applying to business school, and yes I'm sure law school as well and every other masters program.

In any event, what I'm struggling with right now is figuring out what I want to include in my essays that I did not include in my interview, or even if what I included in my interview will make it to the admissions committee table.  I wish someone would shed some light on how much information from the interview actually makes it into ones file, because yes you go through your resume, but if you interview correctly you add so much more context.  Then all of the schools say "We want a holistic view of the applicant, so you don't want to just regurgitate your resume or something you said in your interview."  But how do I know that something I said "in passing" while getting to another point will actually make it into my file?  So should I include that in my essay but in more depth?

I know in my interview I touched on a lot of things because it was a very conversational interview.  Now while writing my essays (I've done 3 first drafts tonight) I'm finding it hard to "tip toe" around topics that are very important.  This is the hardest with my video essay for Tuck, because there are so many things I want to say, but just don't have the time.  I literally do not have the time... I have 90 seconds!

In any event, I'll figure it out and will see what my reviewer say.

On that note, I have to begin packing!  I'm off to visit Michigan tomorrow!  My flight is at 6pm from LaGuardia, so I'll probably leave work at 3:45 and then by 8pm I'll be in Detroit headed to A2 (Ann Arbor).  I've been emailing back and forth with my friends there and they are patiently waiting my arrival!  Excuse me.. that's a lie.. they are recruiting and interviewing and symposium(ing), but with it being Thursday and all, I know that they don't have classes and some are up for showing me the town.

It won't be a late night because I have to be up and at'em early in the AM for the start of the LGBT preview events.  But... Friday night... I make no promises!

Until next time!  Peace playa!

Monday, November 15, 2010

20,000th Blog Visitor!!!!

A couple of days ago I surpassed my 20,000th visitor!  Unfortunately, I don't have a special guest post this time around, and I'm not going to write a long post about anything specific at this juncture because I have to get back to editing this darn video essay!  But!  Here is a good read from Poets & Quants.

GMAT Scores - Possibilities

Everyone... if you remember THIS post... you'll know why I'm doing this.  You can ignore this post too!  This isn't necessarily the best optimized way to do things, but since this is a lil'ole blog it's just fine and dandy.  Usually GoogleBot would not appreciate me doing this.  Now I have to make it seem like this post is relevant to my blog theme.

So I was having a conversation with a friend about GMAT scores and they asked how the average GMAT scores from all of the schools can have units digits other than 0 and then I had to explain to her the whole scoring process.  Then I stopped myself and said wait... no... just because the GMAT scores are even numbers doesn't mean that the average GMAT score needs to be an even number.  So you can get any of the scores below and then average them and get an odd number.  It's all a function of how many people are in the sample set.

800 gmat score
790 gmat score
780 gmat score
770 gmat score
760 gmat score
750 gmat score
740 gmat score
730 gmat score
720 gmat score
710 gmat score
700 gmat score
690 gmat score
680 gmat score
670 gmat score
660 gmat score
650 gmat score
640 gmat score
630 gmat score
620 gmat score
610 gmat score
600 gmat score
590 gmat score
580 gmat score
570 gmat score
560 gmat score

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Business Week Top 25 Business School Ranking

Just recently, Business week came out with their Business School Rankings and I thought I would share, although I don't agree with it.  Here are the top 25 schools:

1.  Chicago Booth - remained same
2.  HBS - remained same
3.  Wharton - moved up 1 spot
4.  Kellogg - dropped 1 spot
5.  Stanford - moved up 1 spot
6.  Fuqua - moved up 2 spots
7.  Ross - dropped 2 spots
8.  Haas - moved up 2 spots
9.  Columbia - dropped 2 spots
10.  MIT - dropped 1 spot
11. Darden - moved up 5 spots
12. Southern Methodist University - moved up 6 spots
13. Cornell Johnson - dropped 2 spots
14. Tuck - dropped 2 spots
15. Tepper - moved up 4 spots
16. Kenan-Flagler - moved up 1 spot
17. Anderson - dropped 3 spots
18. Stern - dropped 5 spots
19. Kelley - dropped 4 spots
20. Michigan State - was 2nd tier
21. Yale SOM - moved up 3 spots
22. Goizueta - moved up 1 spot
23. Georgia Institute of Technology - moved up 6 spots
24. Mendoza - dropped 4 spots
25. McCombs - dropped 4 spots

Largest Gainer(s) = SMU (#12) and GIT (#23)
Largest Loser(s) = NYU Stern (#18)
Surprises = NYU Stern (#18), Fuqua (#6), and SMU (#12)

It's amazing that when we think of the "Trifeca" of schools we think of HBS, Wharton, Stanford - well at least I do... but Chicago has been #1 for two cycles.  Business week publishes this every two years.

Here's a link to see the rest of the list:  Business Week Business School Rankings - 2010  and here is the criteria they use

Essay Writing Break

Unforunately, I never heard back from Dartmouth regarding my status on the Diversity Conference waitlist, but that's another story for another post.

So as you may remember back in September I requested a bunch of days off in October and November from work, so that I could visit schools and junk.  So Wednesday the 10th (yesterday) comes around and I was still prepared to hop on the Dartmouth Coach and head up to the conference that started today.  I had the days off so why not.  Around 5pm I still hadn't heard back and my manager asked if I was going to come in Thursday/Friday even though I had taken off.  She knew why I had taken the days off, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  I decided to take today off and work on my essays but I will be going in to work tomorrow.

I didn't want to take Friday off and have a three day weekend, because I would prefer to have a Thursday off and then go in on Friday and then have two more days off.  

In any event, I've been working on my Tuck essay for 4 hours.  Why have I been working on it for 4 hours you ask?  Well... it's difficult editing videos.  Oh yeah... since I'm applying through the Consortium I can either write an essay (they didn't put a word limit on it) or do a 90 second video.  Using context clues from above, I'm sure you can imagine which option I've chosen.  

I have a Macbook and this is the first time I get to try out all of the video editing features.  Very excited about that!  I'm also using something that I learned about during my digital marketing class in June.  Someone did a presentation and used a certain program, which shall remain nameless, and I'm using that to create my video too.

I needed to take a break from staring at my computer screen for so long.  I also took a break to go to Best Buy because I needed to buy a microphone.  I'm almost done putting the video together and plan to have it completed tonight - otherwise today was a bust and I can't afford to have a day off without getting anything done.

I didn't think making the video would be this difficult.  It's hard enough writing an essay, but when you write an essay (especially with no limit) you don't care how long the video version of it would be.  Of course I'm not simply sitting in front of a camera reciting an essay, but think about having to create sound bytes essentially for a 90 second video.  90 seconds is NOT a lot of time when you think of "Introductions" and "Conclusions."  

Oh well!  Don't cry for my Argentina - I'll get it done and it'll be phenomenal - I HOPE!  I actually need to find out if I can burn DVD's on either my Macbook or my mothers laptop.  Hhmmm...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

50 Ways to Tell You're Getting an MBA!

I got the idea to make this list for the 50 ways you know you're getting an MBA, while I was on the bus this morning commuting to work.  Then I got to work and had some friends help me put this list together!  If you have any more to add just leave a comment! ENJOY!

You know you're going for your MBA when... (1-10)
1. ...BeatTheGMAT shows up as one of your most recently visited websites.
2. ...your friends keep asking you "How is school?" and you have to explain that you're still applying.
3. ...you correct someone who uses improper GMAT idioms in speech and then apologize for doing so.
4. ...you begin argumentative banter with someone with the sentence "Well the assumption here is _________"
5. ...the acronym CPG means something to you.
6. ...you know what the "Trifecta" of B-schools is.
7. ...you cannot wait until Spring.
8. ...you wonder if first year is really as hectic as current students say it is.
9. ...you like to talk about yourself but at this point you're over it!
10. ...the Internet has become so small because you only frequent X amount of sites.

You know you're going for your MBA when... (11-20)
11. ...you know refer to each school by their major donors' name. ie Tuck, Stern, Booth, Ross.
12. ...you still have no idea what Social Entrepreneurship is but you know that a lot of people want to do it!
13. ...you've considered Consulting but were turned off by their interview process.
14. ...you've considered Consulting until you found out they can make you retake the GMAT if they want...and can even ask your SAT scores!
15. ...your heart palpitates at the thought of the GMAT.
16. ...you can pinpoint the major characteristics of the top 25 schools...and just by talking to someone for 5 minutes, can say to them “Ok so you should look into [Insert School] because they have X,Y, and Z.”
17. ...you've already planned out what activities your life will consist of when the application process is done (or the fact that you will actually HAVE a life again).
18. …you didn’t realize how much it was going to cost you just to CONSIDER applying to business school
19. ...you hate defending yourself to those who say you don't need and MBA and think to yourself "um you're already SVP!" and at the same time the company is hiring MBA's!
20. …you tell everyone how important getting an MBA is and you can’t understand why they’re not going for theirs.

You know you're going for your MBA when... (21-30)
21. ...you read my blog ;-)

22. ...the thought of paying $200k to just be able to add three letters [MBA] to your resume doesn't faze you.  (Yes FAZE is the correct word here as per MS Word grammar check)
23. …when talking to others going through the process you start with “My friend at [Insert Top 10 B-school Here] said…]
4. …October/December or December/March or any other pair of Application/Decision months is the most nerve-wracking months of the year.
5. …you’ve had ENOUGH of being introspective!
26. …when the most strenuous part of your day is listening to others ask you about how the process is going
27. ...you realize the people who want to go into Non-Profit were people who were Investment Bankers and people who were in Non-Profit want to get into Investment Banking.
28. …you are beginning to work on your alcohol tolerance because from what current students tell you, you’ll need it to be as high or higher than in during undergrad.
29. ...you start to get more excited about all the drinking that you'll be doing in business school than the network you'll build.
30. …when someone tells you that they reached out to a student at [Insert School] you ask who it was to figure out if you know them.

You know you're going for your MBA when... (31-40)
31. …you know where your target schools rank in US News, Business Week, and the Wall St Journal.
32. ...your significant other is more ready for the GMAT to be over than you are.

33. ...you're at dinner and you always insist on calculating the tip without a calculator and get upset when someone talks while you’re doing it!
34. ...you have to dig deep to find the strength to continue working with passion.
35. ...you get annoyed when people ask questions found on the school's website at MBA fairs.
36. ...you are the go to person that anyone that has a question about B-school comes to you.
37. ...things like Clear Admit, Veritas, MGMAT, and Stacy Blackman have direct meaning to you.
38. ...you hear people discussing an essay and you instantly know which school it's for.
40. ...you have your phone off on a Friday or Saturday night and your significant other calls and you say that you were studying for the GMAT and the excuse doesn't get questioned.

You know you're going for your MBA when... (41- 50)
41. …you know that the questions “Why MBA?” and “Why MBA now?” warrant completely different essays.
42. …you are no longer up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows.
43. …your email inbox is full of MBA program information that you didn’t request.
44. …a 5 hour road trip to visit a school seems like nothing.
45. ...you know that if you have three jobs in three years (Current job, internship, post-mba job) that's a good thing.
46. ...your LinkedIn connections have double since you began this process.
47. ...instead of asking your friends "How was your weekend?" you ask "How did studying go?"
48. ...you feel guilty when you go out with your friends for dinner and/or drinks, because you know you should be working on your applications.
49. ...you speak about Admissions Officers as if they're your BFF's.
50. ...you cannot wait to graduate in 2013!!!

Thanks too... B, J, and E for helping me get this put together!

Another Funny MBA Insult Video!

Yet another funny MBA video!!!

Here are the links to other funny videos that I've found:

Monday, November 8, 2010

My MBA Podcaster Interview!

Ok so it's not THAT exciting anymore that would warrant 7 exclamation marks, but it's ironic that this Podcast that I remember giving the interview for back in the summer, comes out now when I just posted not to long ago about being essentially "OVER" the timeline.  Here is the post where I told everyone about my interview... MBA Podcaster shout out.

In any event, that doesn't take away from the seriousness of having a timeline even if it gets revised over time.  I haven't listened to the podcast yet, because I hate my voice on a recording, but when I go to sleep tonight, maybe I'll listen to it.  Or you guys can just let me know how it is!!!

Building Your MBA Application Timeline: What To Do and When Should You Do It

If you all don't know about MBA Podcaster, you need to get into it!  Great resource - MBA Podcaster is your online source for information, insight, and advice on the MBA admission process.

I can't believe that I'm in the same podcast as these people:

Guests Include:
  • Richard Battle-Baxter, 2011 MBA applicant and Search Engine Marketing Analyst at Bloomingdales.com
  • Betsy Massar, Founder and CEO of Master Admissions - www.masteradmissions.com
  • Graham Richmond, CEO of Clear Admit - www.clearadmit.com
  • Chris Smith*, litigation consultant and MBA applicant
    (*Not his real name; he requested to stay anonymous because of the sensitive nature of his work)

MBA process @ a Loss for Words

I must admit that lately I've been at a loss for words regarding this whole business school process.  I don't even know what to write about any more because I feel that I've gotten all of my thoughts out of my head.  I don't read all of the articles that I used to read.  I don't visit all of the websites that I used to visit.  I don't talk about the GMAT as much as I used to... I think I'm just over it.

Not over business school and applying, but just over talking about it.  I think something clicked in my brain where I realized "Um yeah... you can talk about it all you want, but you need to actually get your applications in by January 5th or it's all useless."  I was talking to my friend who just got back from the Kellogg weekend and I started talking about the GMAT to her and she felt the same way.  She said "No offense but the GMAT is the last thing I need to think about right now."  Which I must admit was surprising to hear since her G-Day is soon, but I definitely understand.  It's just like ok... enough is enough.  We both know that we'll bang out the GMAT this time around because there's a necessary calm that has come over us.  So that's all I'm going to say about that.

Meanwhile...Back at the Ranch.... I've been going hard on my Tuck essays.  This past weekend I had planned on getting 11 first drafts completed, but that did not happen.  Life got in thew way!  I was able to work on two of my essays, but I didn't get all 11 done.  The one good thing that has come out of me writing essays back in September when everyone was telling me not to write them is that I got the skeletons of my essays completed.  I know what I'm going to write about for each essay topic for each school, but I just need to refine what I've actually written.  In some documents I have random sentences from random ideas that I had.  So I just need to make it cohesive.  

Since I don't know what else to say at the moment, I'll just tell you very quickly what's been going on:

1 - Last week I sent out Thank You cards to some kind folks at Cornell and at Tuck.  Handwritten of course, because that's how I do!  ;-)
2 - Been emailing/texting/facebook(ing) with folks from Ross in preparation for my trip next weekend.
3 - Still waiting to hear if I've been accepted off the Tuck Diversity Conference waitlist.  I think at this point I may be better served by staying home and writing essays than by taking another "vacation." But lord knows that if I get off the waitlist I will be excited to go back up there!
4 - I emailed Brett Nowak to see if he could write another guest post for me for a special milestone
5 - Working with my tutor on Monday!
6 - Need to start planning a date to get out to visit Haas in December.  If anyone knows if they have classes in December please let me know.  I would love to visit a class, but if I can't then at least visiting before applications will be good.  

So to that end, I'm going back to writing my essay.  Until next time... sorry for the boring content!  ;-)  Anyone want to write a guest post?  PLLLEEEAASSSEEEE?  ;-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Focused on January 5th!

Right now I'm laying in bed watching some stupid movie On Demand.  I am no longer living in New York City :-( and :-)  Sad because that was my life for nearly two years so I was accustomed to my 20 minute commute to work.  I am now back in New Jersey and have a 1.5 - 2 hour commute in the morning!  Not fun by any means...  The plus side is that I don't have to write that quadruple digit rent check any more!  I am not able to begin saving for business school.  So yeah that's that...

So as I lay here watching whatever movie is on right now I'm preparing to focus on the next two months.  I have exactly 2 months to get my applications submitted.  There is only one thing I can and shall focus on for the next two months and that is getting my applications completed.

This weekend I plan on getting all of my first draft essays completed.  Here is what I need to do:

3 Consortium Essays
1 Dartmouth Essay
2 Michigan Essays
3 Cornell Essays
2 Berkeley Essays
11 Essays

Then I need to get my life together and start studying again for the amazingly fun GMAT.  I do not have another test date yet but I have to take it before the Consortium deadline in December.  I can do it!  I just booked another tutoring session with my tutor.

I still haven't heard whether or not I'm off the waitlist for the Tuck diversity conference.  I still have the days off from work, so if I hear that a spot opens up all I have to do is hop on the bus.

I will also be attending the LGBT preview day at Michigan on the 19th.  My friend (one of the guys I met at Yale during my visit in February) said that I could stay at his apartment even though he won't be there that weekend.  It's all good though because I met many of the other LGBT Michigan students when I was at the Reaching Out conference, so I've been conversing with them giving them a heads up that I'll be visiting that weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it.

I know this was a boring post but I'm exhausted... good night

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Visiting Business Schools - Yay or Nay?

So earlier this week I received a message from a blog reader asking the questions below.  I responded to the reader but also wanted to post this on my blog because I think it's very important.

1.  How important do you think the visit is to the schools?
2.  Do you think schools care if you visit?
3.  Do you think that if I visit in January after deadlines, those schools that like for prospective students to visit would weigh this visit the same as if I had visited before my application was sent in or do you think they wont even consider my visit when evaluating my profile?

There were some other questions mixed in there but you get the idea right?  So yeah let me start from the beginning...

The way that I think about school visits is not from the perspective of "Oh what will the schools think of me visiting?"  it's more from the perspective of "Oh...can I see myself at school X with student at school X for two years and enjoy myself?"  That's how I go into every school visit.  I don't care too much whether or not the school "cares" if I visit because I care.  I'm grateful to have the opportunity to visit all of the schools that I'm interested in and I believe that it's VERY IMPORTANT to visit if you're able to.

I have visited Tuck, Yale, NYU, Cornell, HBS, and soon to be Michigan and hopefully Haas.  I have definitely written off two schools from that list after my visit.  Other schools I have moved up and moved down in my own personal Consortium ranking.  

When you visit a school you can just get a sense of the atmosphere and if you would like to be associated with those people for the rest of your life.  Sure I reach out to students prior to visiting (One school resulted in a bad experience just from doing that) but I really get a sense for the school during the times when there are no prospective events going on.  So for instance having attended many diversity conferences and such, when we have free time for like 15/20 minutes or so, I'll just sit and observe the current students and how they interact with one another.  Or I will walk around campus by myself and also observe how people interact with one another.

During class visits, I don't pay attention to what the professor is saying as much as I observe what the current students are doing during the class.  Usually during the classes you're sitting in the back of the class and if students are allowed computers, you can see if they are looking at the proper materials or on facebook and instant messenger.  I'm not saying that I would write off a school simply because of this fact, but it gives you a sense of the level of engagement at each school.  I have seen different situations at different schools, and they stick out in my head.  Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that any student who has a laptop open and is on facebook is a bad student or whatever, but in my opinion it does affect the class, in some way shape or form.

Do I think schools care if you visit?  Hhmmm... some schools yes and other schools no.  I know some schools track all of the interaction you have with the school whether it be an information session or an email to an admissions committee member.  I know this for a fact and from my observations it seems to be the smaller schools (one in particular and no it's not Dartmouth) that does this because they have the time to do so.  

Sure you can visit during the admitted students weekends after you're admitted, but at that point how do you know you chose the right school to apply to in the first place?  I mean I literally struck a high ranking school off my list after I visited.  I walked away from the visit saying to myself "I would not enjoy being here with these students for 2 years."  Was that a hard conclusion to arrive at?  Hhmmm...after the visit no it was not.  Prior to the visit I would not have even thought of doing it.  

Another benefit of visiting the schools is that you learn a great deal about the school that you cannot learn from a website or a brochure.  All of the schools say that they're collaborative..they all have student groups... most all have sections...  all top schools have great recruitment placement etc etc... So to me it's funny when they all say "oh make your essays different" and yet all of the information they put out there about themselves is the same.  

Sure from school to school there may be 1/2 things different about each program, but if all of the applicants are trying to make their essays sound different, they're going to hone in on those 1 or 2 things.  By visiting schools prior to applying you learn all of the little nuances that make each school different.  I will not go into detail what I've learned from each school, but I can guarantee you that my essays will be very tailored to my experiences with each school.  It may come down to me being able to reference something that I experienced or realized while visiting, but those "little" differences make it all worth it in the end.  

Plus I like meeting new people so school visits excite me.  If you've been following my journey from the beginning you'll remember that I didn't know anyone who was getting an MBA when I began this process.  Now I have friends on Facebook... current students cell phone numbers...email addresses...linkedin profiles....etc etc, whom I can contact should I have any questions regarding their schools....insider questions at that.  And since I've built up a rapport with them I can ask them very candid questions if need be.  I mean when I was up at Tuck just recently I contacted a couple people just to catch up with them because I remember when they were first years!  When I was at the Reaching Out Conference in LA last month, I ran into someone whom I met back in October of 2009 who gave me some great information about NYU.  These interactions are priceless and would not come about if I did not visit schools.  You can only get so close to someone via email so being able to meet them in person is a "good look."

Needless to say, I think that if you can visit a school, you should!  Now that I've written that, I'm going to go back to editing one of my essays.  From now until Sunday I plan to get all of my first drafts completed and then send them off for review.  Then it's back to GMAT time!!!!!

Oh I do want to write a post about what to wear to business school visits too!  Cuz lord knows I have seen some funny attire.... really... a flannel shirt and jeans?  yeah I won't go into that one!!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We are all Project Managers

Meanwhile... back at the ranch, I've noticed something different in the air!  People are getting neurotic - Myself included!  Early Action deadlines have passed.... Round 1 Deadlines are essentially now! and Round 2 Deadlines are around the corner.  I'm noticing that everything is running around very frantically.

So I wanted to write this post with this title because I think it's true.  In order to get out proper applications. Here is the Wiki definition of a Project Manager: Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution, and closing of any projectThe project(s) in this case being getting out applications!  Of course I have been thinking about this a lot lately because now I'm going to have to study for the GMAT while writing essays, while getting recommendations straightened out.

I'm already dreading the next 8 weeks, but come January 5th I will be at ease!  I'm making sure that none of my hours awake are wasted, so much so that I write essays on the bus during my commute.  October was a pretty hectic month for me because I was traveling, and Nov/Dec won't be that bad.  I want to get my essays done by the middle of November so I can send them off to be reviewed.  I want to get these reviewed asap so I can move on to the next step with them.

I've re-touched base with my recommenders and I'm good to go on that front.  I just need to have a meeting with them first to debrief them and tell them "Why b-school... blah blah blah etc etc and all that jazz."  Oh and then let's not forget it's HOLIDAY and I work for a RETAILER, so that should be fun!  I'm telling them that the deadlines are December 31st, because I know they're going to be late and may not get them in by Jan 5.  How great would it be to have all of my applications done by December 31st and to be able to start the new year not thinking about anything except for filing taxes?

But yeah... to everything out there - make sure you give yourselves enough time to write essays and get recommendations written!  It's crunch time guys!!!  LET'S DO THIS!

Rejected from Harvard :-(

Well it wasn't I that got the Ding from HBS today but it was a friend whom I met last year at an MBA info session.  I was asking him all about the process of finding out that you've been accepted/rejected from a school.  For some reason I'm trying to prepare myself for the week when all decisions come out and I'll be refreshing my inbox every 5 minutes.

In any event this is what comes through -

So yeah how nerve wracking?!?!  He'll be up at Tuck next week and has some other schools to wait for so let's keep our fingers crossed for him!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Message from my GMAT Tutor

You guys have heard so much about me referencing my tutor that I thought I would have him write a post about me!  Here you go...

How to frustrate and impress your GMAT tutor
by Money 9111’s anonymous GMAT tutor

I’m a full-time GMAT tutor who tends to attract the obsessive “hard cases” of the GMAT world.  Earlier this year, I worked with a student who has spent seven years studying for the GMAT, and she’s taken the exam nine times.   Nearly all of my students have taken the GMAT at least twice before contacting me, and close to half of my students have taken two prep courses or more.   So in one sense or another, almost all of my GMAT students are – and I mean this in an absolutely loving way—totally obsessed weirdoes with unbelievable work ethics.

But Money 9111?  Special.  Very special.

First of all, I don’t think he ever sleeps.  He sends me ellipse-filled emails at all hours of the night.  (We actually started working together because of our shared love of ellipses.  No, really…)  He’s often exhausted when he comes to tutoring sessions.

OK, I just made up the part about boiled cabbage.  That’s not really true.

In all seriousness, Money 9111 is a smart, likable guy who hasn’t had an easy time with the GMAT… as you can probably tell from his blog.  For some people, filling in little bubbles comes naturally.  Unfortunately, Money 9111 is not one of those people.  

Before I continue, let me crap on the GMAT a little bit.  The GMAT is an outstanding measure of your ability to fill in little bubbles while sitting in a windowless room.  It’s a solid measure of your ability to read useless garbage while paying mind-numbingly literal attention to useless details.  And it’s a pretty good measure of your ability to use 9th-grade math to solve bizarre, useless math problems.   

Other than that?  I’m not sure that it tells us much.  

After almost a decade in the test-prep world, I can tell you that GMAT scores don’t always tell us what we think they tell us.  One of the most competent, capable, intelligent students I’ve ever met scored in the 400s on most of her practice tests, and she was flabbergasted to pull a 570 out of her butt on test day; I’m convinced that she’ll be a CEO someday, and some lucky firm will be blessed to have her.  One of my highest-scoring students of all time was a smelly nimrod with the emotional intelligence of a stoned, drunk, slightly rabid raccoon.  He scored over 750 on the GMAT, and nobody in their right minds should hire him to work with other human beings.

So yeah, good luck interpreting GMAT scores.  

The way I see it, the best business leaders are usually what I call “grinders”:   they may or may not be naturally brilliant at filling in little bubbles, but they’ll work like hell to achieve their goals.  If I were the emperor of a top business school, I would reject all of the lazy smart people who love filling in little bubbles and can get a 750+ without trying (oh shit, that’s me), and I would fill the program with savvy, likable grinders who work their nuts off.  The most successful people might not always be booksmart, but they’re usually tough as nails, in some sense or another.

Money 9111 might not look like a badass, but he’s definitely one of those guys who has that “grinder” mentality—he’ll achieve his goals one way or another, and he’s exactly the kind of character you would want in your company or at your MBA program.  As I’ve watched him duke it out with the GMAT over the past several months, I’ve become increasingly convinced that he’ll do whatever it takes to kick ass… and he really doesn’t care if he suffers mightily along the way.

And the GMAT is definitely making him suffer.  Money 9111 has more GMAT books than his GMAT tutor does.  He has GMAT SC idioms written all over his walls.  He’s been studying daily for six months.  And tons of things still don’t come easily for him.  He’s naturally sloppy with his algebra and arithmetic.  He usually can’t resist the urge to skim RC and CR passages, which means that he’ll randomly miss easy shit on verbal, especially if he’s sleep-deprived.  Number properties and inequalities make him crazy.   This GMAT thing must be his own personal hell.  

And you know what?  He keeps showing up for GMAT tutoring, he keeps studying until the wee hours of the morning, and he’ll do the same problem set four times in a row if he thinks it will help him get a better score.  The poor man has done my evil number properties set more times than we can count.  And he still screws up pieces of it.  And then he does the problem set again, hoping that the breakthroughs will finally come.  Sure, sometimes they do come… but usually only after an inhuman amount of effort.  

But trust me on this:  Money 9111 will finally give the GMAT a good, hard kick to the nuts before he’s done.  He scored a 36 on quant back in May, and he’s consistently in the low-to-mid 40s on his practice tests now… and I don’t think that he’s really hit his peak yet.  He’s done a ridiculous quantity of RC and CR questions, and I see signs that he’s finally starting to break through—the mind-numbing “literalness” of the GMAT verbal is actually making sense to him now.  That dream of a 40+ verbal score isn’t far out of reach anymore. 
As Money 9111 grinds his way to GMAT glory, his life will continue to be thoroughly unglamorous.  Part of his homework is a daily regimen that includes a huge number of CR and RC questions, a smaller dose of SC questions, and a big fat wad of math problems.  His CR and RC seems to suffer when he’s sleep-deprived, so I’ll keep making him turn in a “sleep log” every week—if he doesn’t get at least 50 hours of sleep every week, I’ll throw a tantrum.  And if I’m feeling really mean, I’ll steal his cigarettes as punishment.  

Money 9111’s next test day is coming soon, and I’m not going to even try to predict his next GMAT score.  But I’m convinced that he’ll get into a badass b-school somehow, even if he doesn’t beat the tar out of the GMAT on his next attempt.  One of the top MBA programs will figure out that Money 9111 is one of those “grinders” who will—some way or another—manage to get some serious shit done in the business world, even if he has to pull a lifetime of all-nighters to get it all done.  

If nothing else, you have to give the man huge props for his work ethic.  By the time he’s finished, Money 9111 might spend more than a thousand hours working on the GMAT and his applications.  And he’ll probably never even complain about all of that work…

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