Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Better late than never 2006 year in review

"Framework" is a big buzzword at the Chicago GSB these days, what with interviewing in full swing for the first years. (Boy, I do NOT miss the days of recruiting!!!) So in the spirit of b-schoolers' love of frameworks, I'll use my sub-header as a framework for taking a look back at the past year or so.
I'm just a girl...
Yep, that still applies :) Woman, chick, female, lady, broad...yeah, that's me.
seeking an MBA...
At this point I'm about 3/4 of the way done with my MBA and it has flown by. It's been a fun ride and I have no regrets about going back to school full time. I can't say I have loved every class I've taken, but I've learned something from each professor, study group, and class discussion. The most enjoyable have been hypothetically starting/running a new business in "Building the New Venture" taught by Waverly Deutsch, and putting together a business plan for Goodwill of Chicago in "New Venture Lab" taught by Linda Darragh. Entrepreneurship hadn't been on my radar before business school, but it is a new curiosity and interest of mine. Not sure how that might influence my future career decisions, but let's just say seeds have been planted and it has changed the way I think about business strategy. Enough about the classes though, because the people of the GSB have truly been the highlight of my experience here. I've never been surrounded by such a large, diverse group of really cool fun people. Whether it's traveling to Costa Rica and learning to surf, sitting at a bar and watching football, or just hanging out in the Winter Garden, I've really enjoyed spending time with my classmates and I've made some lifelong friends.
the perfect job...
Ah, recruiting. The agony and the ecstasy (more of the former than the latter, unfortunately). Figuring out what you really and truly want to do is hard enough, without the added pressure of the on-campus recruiting process. To be sure, the process is unpleasant, but the career services staff at the GSB and my fellow classmates could not have been more supportive. And nothing feels better than signing that offer letter at the end of it all. My initial plan didn't exactly pan out (marketing in a sports-related company), but I'm OK with that. I have a better understanding of myself and the opportunities available and I now realize it's not a great fit. In my life, I've found that figuring out what you DON'T want to do is just as important as figuring out what you do want to do. I tried something different over the summer, a job that was much more qualitative than anything I've ever done, in an industry in which I had zero experience. I had a blast, but at the end of the day I realized that the company wasn't a great fit for me. My revelation: it doesn't matter how glamorous or fun the product I'm marketing is. I can market ANYTHING as long as I'm part of an organization that is committed to employee development, continuous improvement, and doing the right thing...for its customers, for its employees, for its stockholders, and for its community. That's why I'm delighted to be headed back to the world of financial services when I join American Express after I graduate. It is a PERFECT fit.
love & happiness....
This is the goal I would have said I was least likely to achieve a year ago. Sure, I was pretty happy early in the year, things in my life were coming together. But I scoffed a bit at the idea of finding love. Then came the family meltdown in April 2006 when my parents split up. People unfamiliar with divorce will say things like, "Well at least you're an adult, that must make it easier." BULLS**T! That comment bugs the crap out of me because it is entirely untrue. Divorce sucks. Period. No matter how old you are. At 29 years old, my lifelong model for love and marriage is toast. Everything changes...how I communicate with my parents, how we celebrate holidays, heck even how I have to plan graduation weekend. I haven't talked about this much because it's very personal, and my parents read this (hi mom, hi dad), so it's just plain hard to get into. Luckily I have very supportive friends, some of whom have been through divorce themselves, as children and as adults. I'm getting through it and I'm not letting it weigh down my emotions anymore. It is what it is, and I can't do anything about it except try to live my best life. One of my initial reactions was to completely write off the idea of love and swear I would never marry. And sure enough, a few months later, Cupid went and shot me in the rear! I have no idea how it happened, it just did. A guy I had been friends with since the beginning of school suddenly turned into something more, a lot more. It completely took me by surprise and it has been the most wonderful surprise of my life. I love him, and my friends and family love him. And for the first time in my life, I'm ready to move in with someone, I'm ready to think about the long term. Early on, I described it to a friend as "scary fantastic" and now it's just...fantastic. I can't wait to share my NYC adventure and the next chapters of my life with him.
early retirement....
Well, considering I'm seriously in the hole after financing this MBA thing, and I'm moving to one of the most expensive places to live in the country....this goal is still TBD.
And world peace, of course.
This was a long shot. Still is. More Golden Rule, fewer bombs, and maybe we'll get there in my lifetime.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The best argument AGAINST a playoff for college football

I loved the craziness of the Fiesta Bowl as much as any true football fan, but I have to say I agree with Chuck Klosterman: just say no to a college football playoff.

Oh, and happy 2007! I'm sure I will be the last blogger on earth to do a "reflections on 2006" post, but I promise I'll get around to it sooner or later.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New GSB Blog

I'm a co-chair on the Dean's Student Admissions Committee and today we've launched a blog. (Disclaimer: This is blatant self promotion. I set the thing up.) It is completely student run/published. The co-chairs are hoping this new resource provides additional insight for prospective GSBers into the application process and what it's like to be a student at the GSB. Feel free to send me feedback; this is a work in progress and I would appreciate the input!

Check it out: Chicago GSB DSAC Blog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Look

Pretty bad that I haven't been to Blogger in so long that I'm just now upgrading to the newest version. In honor of that, I decided to give the blog a little makeover. We'll see if I like it enough to keep it.

Fall quarter is over and I'm looking forward to my winter classes. Finals ended on Dec 8th, and ski trip in Steamboat Spring started Dec 11th. I wish I could say I had a blast shredding the mountain on my board. I did have fun, but I did not shred. No, I'm the idiot who hurts herself BEFORE the ski trip. I slipped on some sidewalk ice in my neighborhood a couple of days before the trip and wrenched my knee pretty bad. Thankfully, I did not re-tear my ACL that I had reconstructed 3 years ago (injured wakeboarding, of course). But I had to take it easy, so I cashed in my lift ticket for some spa treatments, read books and watched movies. We did have other injuries on the trip: a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder, and a possibly torn ACL (these were in addition to my pre-trip injury). Everybody was in good spirits and had a good time, despite the injury bug.

I'm laying low until the boyfriend and I fly to Seattle on Christmas Eve for some family time. It's nice to catch up on Tivo'd shows, surf the web, update the blog, and generally be lazy. I did make a big decision recently though: I sent off my signed offer letter to American Express and I will be joining them in NYC after graduation. Let the good times roll :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm in a New York state of mind

I'm back in NYC for a recruiting trip. Back? you say. Yes, this is trip #3 of 3 trips to NYC for second round interviews. All in the past 8 days. I'm tired. The first trip was a bust, the second trip resulted in an offer (a great one I'm really excited about), and this last one is a two-for-one with one interview today and one tomorrow. After that I have just one more second round interview in Chicago after the holiday and then I will be DONE. It feels so good to say that. I had some time this afternoon to enjoy the city, which is nice because before all this started, I had only spent a single day here. I walked, I shopped, I ate, I walked some more. It was fantastic. This is such a great city, and I'm beginning to see myself here after graduation. Which is weird for me since I started b-school assuming I'd move closer to home if anything, whereas now I feel I'm being drawn back to the east coast. Except it's not weird, because I'm completely excited by the prospect of a new adventure in a new city. Actually, I probably won't end up following the gameplan I laid out for myself at the start of b-school AT ALL, but it works for me because I'm a firm believer that your gameplan should never be so rigid that you can't allow yourself to take risks and open the door when opportunity knocks.

Classes are a total afterthought for me right now, and I'm not proud of that, but with this recruiting stuff, you just have to do what it takes to get through it and hope you come out OK. I get back to Chicago Tuesday night, have class on Wednesday, then head to Seattle for turkey day Thursday morning. It will be interesting, this being the first big holiday since my parents split up. I haven't been home for Thanksgiving since undergrad, but I felt like I needed to go home this year, for my family and for myself. I'd rather this be our initiation into "Holidays, Divorced Style" than Christmas. So it goes.

Don't let that last paragraph fool you. I'm still dealing with the divorce, but on the whole, things are pretty groovy in wakechick-land. I have a new offer, I still have my offer from the summer, and I'm going to Steamboat after finals to play in the pow-pow. Oh, and did I mention I have a new boyfriend and I'm absolutely crazy about him?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We're #1

So Business Week just announced that Chicago GSB is their new top dog. Whispers had been circulating this week that it might happen, and now the Hyde Park Center is atwitter with the latest accolade.

This weekend's Fall Preview for prospective GSBers should be fun.

And good luck to Round 1 applicants who are finishing up their applications this weekend in time for the Oct 18th deadline!

Snow in October?

Yep, its snowing here in Chicago as I type. On October 12th. Awesome.

Another strange thing I've seen here recently: A couple weeks ago it stormed really hard. Torrential rain, heavy winds, lots of lightening. Tons of trees went down, in fact they are still clearing the debris out of Hyde Park. So anyway, I was driving down Lake Shore Drive to school and noticing that the lake was really churned up, which is typical after a storm. The waves get big enough that your mind is *almost* fooled into thinking its the ocean. I go to exit at 57th street, where there is one of the city beaches, and notice figures bobbing in the water. Surfers. In Lake Michigan. Trying to make the most out of the storm and the "swell" it created. Felt like a scene straight out of the movie "Step Into Liquid." (Great movie, see the trailer here, there are a couple of brief clips from the segment about Great Lakes surfing)

And since I have so much time on my hands (ha--more like, so much desire to procrastinate and put off finishing a paper for tomorrow), I found a trailer for another surf movie on YouTube that is all about Great Lakes surfing:

God, I love YouTube.

On the school front:
Classes are good
Social life is good
Recruiting is good

Theme of the quarter so far: How am I so busy? We are second years, aren't we supposed to be coasting through it by now???

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back from summer hiatus

I guess I took an unannounced break from blogging, of sorts. Just too much personal stuff going on and too busy to really sort through thoughs and get inspired to post something. I'm really happy that classes resume next week. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my friends regularly and generally enjoying the hell out of my second year of b-school. I'm actually down on campus today to participate in a couple of Career Services panels. Maybe being back in HPC is what inspired me to break the seal on blogging again.

My summer internship at Brunswick was a lot of fun and resulted in an invitation to come back when I graduate. I'm still planning to test the waters with some selective recruiting this fall (when else in my life will employers from all over come to me?), but chances are pretty good I will go back. Boats are cool. Got to drive one of these down the Chicago River:

Took another RV-to-sporting event trip over Labor Day Weekend to see WSU take on Auburn. The outcome wasn't what I had hoped for, but we all had a great time. Talk about tailgating and southern hospitality, those Auburn fans know how to do it right.

Also went home for my 10 year high school reunion....all I can say is, what a trip.