Friday, March 28, 2008

A Long Overdue Update...

Well I have been pretty terrible about updating this lately but this whole b-school process never seems to stop. Since my last update I have, attend Day at Kellogg (DAK), completed my taxes way earlier than normal, completed the FAFSA, and submitted my financial aid forms, spent countless hours finding an apartment in Evanston, and sending in my deposit for school this fall.

So first of all DAK was an amazing time, if you are admitted to Kellogg you definitely should go. I met a lot of folks that I had interacted with during the application process who also will be attending Kellogg this fall. Its nice knowing that there will be half a dozen people I already will know in the area. That was one of the best things about Kellogg in my mind, instead of everyone living all over the city like other schools in big city settings, everyone is pretty much concentrated in a small section of downtown Evanston. This is probably part of the reason the school is so tight knit, its definitely nice being able to walk down the hall in your building to a classmates apartment/condo, instead of spending 30 minutes commuting to someone’s place for a group project.

The Mrs. Also enjoyed her time at DAK, I think she realized that not only is it the perfect school for me but also for her. She met a lot of significant others who are going through the same thing as her, and is now really excited about the idea of moving to Evanston. Kellogg has to be the most accepting place for significant others for schools, well tied with Tuck. My wife can go to any classes she wants (no credit), join all the clubs, go on any trips including course related trips, and of course their group for significant others seems to be extremely involved. I

Finding a place that allowed our dog proved to be a challenge. Some apartment buildings would allow dogs but only up to 25 or 40lbs, I don’t think we could put Roxy on a diet and get a 75lb shepherd mix to look like a 40lb dog without killing her. We thought seriously about buying, in some ways it makes the most sense but in the end the stress of selling our house and buying a condo was just too much. In the end it came down to us having to finding a condo owner who would rent their unit to us and allow the dog. Luckily we found someone who was fine with it, of course there is a deposit for her and $25 more a month but considering we spend a couple hundred a month on daycare for the dog so that wan not enough to make us even think twice…dogs are way more expensive than you would think.

We already know one of my fellow gmatclubbers and his soon to be wife will be living in the same building, and it seems like a lot of the units end up in the hands of other Kellogg students. My wife was glad to see one of the people she met at DAK is going to be just one floor up…plus she is a fellow Red Sox fan so bonus points there. We have yet to complete the signing on the unit, the landlord is a K alum and seems to be pretty busy at work these days but I am not too concerned at this point, now its just a matter of the paperwork since our credit and backgrounds have already been run.

On the work front, productivity has come to a screeching halt at times. I wish I had more assignments to do, I get them done and then stare at my screen and think of what else I need to get done. Its not that I am being lazy but it sure is tough to motivate myself to come up with new projects and improvements when I know I wont be around to see my ideas through and most likely they will die as soon as I am gone…sadly I see it as not worth the effort. The Mrs. still hasn’t informed her work that we are leaving, I think she is afraid they will either lay her off (I doubt that) but more realistically I think she is afraid they wont give her anything important to do and she will be bored out of her mind.

A final note, the USNews rankings came out yesterday (well leaked out). It was nice to see Kellogg move up a spot. It went from tied for 5th to tied for 4th. I am not a big fan of generic overall rankings in many ways but this past year I have heard time and time again that Kellogg was slipping in rankings and it was a weakening brand. I was always curious where this opinion came from, if it was an informed on or just internet conjecture by a bunch of people who really don’t have any insight beyond seeing that it dropped in rankings last time so of course it will again. So even just maintaining its spot would have been fine but moving up one completely dispels that notion. Personally I think that the rankings now pretty much accurately portray reality by making it a three way tie between MIT, Kellogg, and Chicago.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

So I booked our trip to Chicago for the Day at Kellogg, which is actually a weekend but that’s not important. I am looking forward to getting away from work and things around here for a at least a weekend. I think at least once a day someone asks me when I am leaving for school, its gotten old already because how can someone who attended college and has kids in college not know school doesn’t begin until the fall. So it will actually be nice to take the next step in the process, sitting around and waiting for this to move forward is getting boring.

The only stressful thing at this point is selling out house, since it is such a bad real estate market. Luckily our house is totally reno vated or soon will be, and is in a town where sales have held pretty strong. We do have a fair amount of equity but at this point its going to be more important to get it sold than to squeeze every last dollar out of it. Ob viously it would be great to make a large profit on the house, it would make trying to live on just one income the next two years much easier to do.

There are so many things that need to get done before we move and just thinking about it is very daunting. I have another 6 mont hs or so at work, and that gets tougher everyday since I know that I am leaving. I was doing the scheduling for our next project (this one will end about the time I graduate) and the initial due dates aren’t even until after I will be gone. I feel bad in a way because I do a lot of work and there is no one here now who understands my systems…they have been very slow about bringing someone else in from a different area too. I guess it shouldn’t bother me since they pretty much will have had a years notice which is far more than the 2-4 weeks most people give when leaving a job.

While it is stressful and rather nerve wracking to think about moving and what school will be like, I am really looking forward to it. Not so much the class work or anything since I have nev er been the most studious person, but just the whole b-school experience. I have met a lot of great people during the application process, both during visits and events, and discussing the process online. I think coming from an undergrad experience that while it is great to reflect back on really was not fun when I went through it, the military aspect of it and the fact no one really stuck around on weekends pretty much eliminated any normal college experience. I am definitely not looking for the experience of a 20 year old college kid but it will be nice not having to march around in a uniform or spend two months sailing the oceans this time around.

Having the good fortune of being admitted extremely early in the process I have been able to watch the results come in without much worry. Yesterday was the final day for Kellogg admissions, it seems like almost everyone was WL…there were a few admits and dings here and there but overall it was a bunch of people getting WL. Its amazing that some people behave the way they do. I know its stressful and its upsetting when you don’t get in, heck I will admit I was disappointed when I didn’t get into Chicago even though I preferred Kellogg. It probably has a lot to do with competitive nature of the highly accomplished people who are applying to the top schools. But seriously if people can’t handle the application process how are they going to handle recruiting, group members relying on them for a vital part of a huge project, or even worse a high pressure work environment post grad. Seriously if someone giving themselves an ulcer during the application season then business school and the corporate world probably aren’t for them.

Friday, December 28, 2007

End of a big year.

So in just a year I went from getting my GMAT official guide #11 to being admitted to my top one of my top two schools. I found out right before Christmas I did not get into the University of Chicago GSB. I am not too bothered by this at all, it was my third choice of the three I ended up applying to. Surprisingly I applied there because I thought I would have a better chance of getting in there than my other R1 schools. The other two are pretty much equal, both have their huge advantages so if I end up getting into the only one I am waiting for it will be a tough decision. Though I am definitely leaning one way, I just need to convince the Mrs. since she is leaning towards the other.

It is nice to have one acceptance, the last month has been great. Getting such an early acceptance has really taken a lot of stress out of the whole process. Especially since it was one of my two top choices, and I am excited with the prospect of going there. We are now planning our trip to admitted students weekend in February, it will be fun meeting future classmates and seeing some people that I have met during the application process.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well I got a call from Northwestern this evening, I have been accepted to the Kellogg class of 2010. I read this morning that they were releasing acceptances, when I emailed my wife about it...she told me not to even worry about it for another month. I got home at the usual time, took my dog out for a walk and when I got home there was a message from an unknown number on my cell phone which I left on the kitchen counter. I never thought it would be Kellogg.

Its not even December and I already have my first acceptance. Its an amazing feeling. Just six short months ago I was studying for the GMAT and now I have an acceptance to an M7 school. When all this started I never pictured myself going to any ultra elite school and now here I am.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

B-School Update R1 done...on to R2

I got #3 out on time, recs included but I have decided not to go for school #4 for R1, am now even debating it at all. As much as I like the school, Mrs. Riverripper wouldn't have much in the way of job opportunities. She is already giving up a lot to allow me to do this, so I think it would be unfair for her. With this thought, I am seriously reevaluating my school choices for R2. I think I have decided against NYU, as much as we like the idea of living in NY, the cost of living is crazy compared to pretty much everywhere else.

Well I completed one interview already for school #2. It went fairly well but I wish I could have talked more about post grad career goals. We basically blew right past that part in only a few minutes. In more exciting and telling news I got an interview invite from school #1. This is a good sign, besides meaning I wont be dinged next week, it also means that my application is strong enough to get me to the half way point. #1 has a 50/50 chance of acceptance once you get an interview, which is much better than the original 25% or so chance. #3 releases interviews starting in the beginning of Dec. If you get an invite from #3, then your chances are close to 70% of getting in. Judging by previous years, if you get an invite during the first week or two you are close to 100%.

Hopefully I wil get great news before all the R2 deadlines so I will save a bunch of money with applying. I am still unsure about my top school. I know which one it should be but I think if I get into multiple schools, I will end up visiting admit weekends before making the decision. A couple schools I may know by Christmas and if I get one acceptance I wont even bother applying to R2 schools, since I aimed high and for my top 3 during R1.

As of right now I am probably going to be doing 3 schools for R2. One was my safety school and thats still there. One we originally weren't keen on but the careers for the wife are great in the area, cost of living is good, and its a great school that is easier than all my R1 schools. #4 from R1 may or maynot happen. We are really going to have to talk about that this week and make a decision. If I don't apply there I think I will go for another school that I originally cut out because of the number of applications I wanted to do.

Its interesting talking to other applicants who are all stressing over getting the H/W/S invites. They are starting to roll out and people put so much pressure on themselves for these. I am glad I didn't apply to any of them. None had any appeal to me outside of Stanford and that is nearly impossible to get into. It is so much work for each application, that why through away all that time for a school that is so much work to apply to...especially since I didn't feel like they were the right fit for me. Then again if I wanted to get into private equity or hedge funds that might have made a difference.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two Down, Two to Go

So I got out my first two applications already, I am very satisfied with them. I think the essays were very strong, thanks to countless hours spent on them and some editting by some family. Amazingly I was within all the limits (well within 5%). I am well on the way with the next application, and hope to finish it by the weekend so I can just check for spelling and grammar. All the essays are done and have gone through a bunch of drafts already...they are out for review right now.

Luckily, after the first app, my resume was exactly where I want it so it just needs to get uploaded and the transcripts are all self reported (amazingly three schools all used the same form so I could copy and paste). So other than the essays the applications are much easier. Same holds true for the recommendations...thankfully both my recommenders have gotten my recs in on time. Having heard more than a few horror stories this was my biggest worry. I am not a fan of not being in control of my whole application but they have come through.

I have my first two interviews scheduled already. I have a new suit and shoes all set for that too. I haven't prepped at all for my interviews though, which I am hoping to have time to do. I am confident I could wing it if I had to but I definitely prefer being prepared. Having a very clear career goal, knowing exactly why I need an MBA, and how my background plays a factor will make the interview a little more pleasant. I have visitted or will visit the schools before interviewing, so I can talk about why that school with clarity.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Work in progress...both my essays and house.

I am working on my essays for round 1 applications right now. I am almost done with the first two for one school and well on my way on a third essay for the school. Its taking a lot longer than I originally thought, thankfully for once in my life I am not procrastinating. The toughest part so far hasn't been coming up with material its been fitting all that I want to in the short length allowed. I am actually looking forward to the 1500 word essay at this point because then I wont have to cut out a lot of material that I feel is valuable to my application.

Considering how many hours I have already invested and I haven't even finished one set of essays I am glad I started this pretty much right when applications came out. I had notebooks filled with ideas based on last years questions which was very helpful since it saved a lot of time brainstorming and allowed me to focus in on the specific questions. Basically my advice to anyone who ever plans on applying is to get as early a start on essays as possible.

The next week is going to be very stressful, we are reroofing and residing part of our house so that is taking up tons of time. In addition to a lot of other projects I have that are half done. I don't even have the heat installed in the downstairs and that is going to have to be done by October. I wish I wasn't doing major renovation on part of our house at the same time as applying to B-school...that or I really should hire someone to do some work. My plans to build the deck may wait till next spring or I may bite the bullet and pay someone to do something I am very capable of doing, which really bugs me.

Rereading the essay questions for my target schools kinda ruined my evening. The questions are horrible, nothing like any other schools. They are very specific, ask for tons of details, and have a 500 word limit...definitely the application I am dreading most.