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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The latest on the process and the worst part so far...

I talked to my bosses last week about leaving...the toughest part of the process so far. I like all the people I work with and what I do but now I feel like I am letting them down since it takes so long to learn all the stuff we need to do and its hard to replace people due to the clearance and qualifications required. Also we just have been assigned a ton of additional work and we are already stretched pretty thin so this is really going to put a lot on a few different people next year when I leave...which sucks but it is not going to stop me. I think the older guys understand but the younger ones don't get it since they are all happy there and no one else is looking to leave.

My immediate supervisor was obviously not excited to hear I will be applying to schools. I think he understands and I know I will get a solid recommendation from him. He did say he would give me an excellent one but I think his initial thought was now what am I going to do? My division head was amazingly supportive and said he wish he had gone back and gotten his when he was my age. Both his brothers have their MBAs and now run companies and are extremely successful, so he knows what it can do for someone's career. He said he would give me a great rec. and how much appreciates a lot of notice so now he can try and fill my job from within soon and then I can train my own replacement up instead of just throwing it on someone in two weeks. He was extremely excited about the whole thing and wants to get to work on the recommendations...basically that whole talk really made me feel better about leaving since my supervisor looked like I slapped him when I told him.

In other news I bought a new suit for the interviews I hope to get this fall. I still need to pick up a new pair of shoes to go with it but I have everything else set up. I have to go to the tailor to have it fitted.

In admission event news:
I attended a big info session in Boston that wasn't very helpful. There were hundreds of people and the big schools HBS, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, and Kellogg had reps that gave presentations...which provided nothing new. If I had to do it over again I would have save the gas and toll money and taken the wife out to dinner instead.

A much more helpful event was a Chicago GSB event put on by current students and recent grads. The people I talked to all seemed great and everyone loved the school, it was organized by the school but still you can sense they love it. A lot of the people were from or had gone to college in Boston so I got a lot of info on comparing the two cities. Most of the guys were married too so it was interesting to get their take on being married during grad school. Overall it was a great time and I got a lot of useful info out of that. I would love for more schools to put on events like that since you really get a sense of what the school and people are like in a setting off campus and out of the academic year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

GMAT Complete...and applications begin

Its amazing how I went from maybe wanting a masters in engineering, to getting an MBA part-time, to any decent school in the Boston area, to my wife saying she would move anywhere so I should apply where I want. Thats where we are today, aiming for a some Top 10 MBA programs and how else to begin the long and hopefully not heartbreaking process but with the GMAT

Though my studying was far from what most people who want high scores seem to do. I went through the official guide once, did the sentence correction out of the Official Verbal guide, and that was about it . It was probably a bad idea to continue with my large remodeling job on the house at the same time as I started to study since it took a lot of my time and energy away from the GMAT process. In the end I almost reached my final goal but I am not disappointed and its not worth retaking. I ended up with a 740 and above 80% on both the quant and the verbal, which is supposed to be a big key. So with a number that puts me above the mean and median for all schools, I am now going to focus on the application process which will be the real deciding factor not another few points on a standardized test.

For anyone preparing for the GMAT I recommend as a very valuable resource. A lot of people there have gotten amazing scores and its a very supportive community compared to some of the others related to the whole MBA process. If you spend time researching MBA programs you will surely come across the forums filled with people who will tell you that if you can't go to Harvard don't bother at all or people that tell you that you don't stand a chance of getting into Columbia since you didn't go to an Ivy League School, save a small nation from a tsunami, and only got a 730 on your GMAT. (note I am not planning on applying to either of those schools)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Hopefully I can keep this blog regularly updated. I don't know how many people will actually read it but at least in a few years it will be fun to look back at. This is my introduction on where I am in life at the moment and why I am heading the way I am...its damn long

About 8 months ago I decided I wanted a change in my professional life, having just gotten married my personal life was pretty much perfect. Work while still interesting overall wasn't providing me with a sense of fulfillment. I make a comfortable living, work with a lot of good people for the most part, and the majority of the time like what I do. Sounds perfect to a lot of people. The only problem is that its one of those jobs that I don't feel I have much impact beyond my work since its very specific and also I have hit a plateau where I probably will stay for the next decade until some people finally retire. Originally I thought about getting a masters in engineering but after talking with some people who have them, I determined it wouldn't me what I hoped for in my career and would probably hurt me financially unless my work paid for it.

The more research I did the more I tended to focus on an MBA as what would help me attain my career goal. MBAs are a path to management...i.e. the location where you make decision not where you make someone else’s decisions happen. Now the process for applying to MBA program is about to begin…and this blog will follow me on my journey to what I hope is a acceptance at a school I would love to attend and hopefully will continue on from there.