Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday is a great day, 2nd only to Friday, because it marks the halfway point of the work week and it means the weekend is just around the corner. Last weekend was a good one. I had hoped to spend some quality time on the beach, but oddly enough the weather did not cooperate (unusual for this time of year in SD). So I spent it finishing up my book (The Queen's Fool), working on essays (barely), and deep cleaning my apartment because it had been awhile and I have friends from Virginia coming to town this weekend. The dust bunnies fought a valiant battle, but in the end I was victorious. We had a dinner party at my friends' house Sunday night with all the girls and the food was excellent. I made balsamic vinegrette marinated vegetable skewers for the grill and they turned out really good.

As I said in an earlier post, I've been reaching out to people in sports/media/entertainment related student groups at my target schools and getting some responses. I made a couple phone calls last night. I didn't manage to get in touch with the guy from Wharton, but had a nice half hour conversation with the Sports Business Association Co-Chair from Anderson. He gave me some great information about the club and the program, his experience getting his internship with the Rose Bowl, the Anderson network, classes, etc. Very helpful guy and I'm excited to incorporate some of this stuff into my essays, if Anderson ever gets around to publishing them! I sent a thank you email after the Wharton Info Session to the leader of the media/entertainment breakout session and we've been exchanging emails. He's shared a couple of contacts, a powerpoint presentation from the Entertainment & Sports Marketing class at Wharton, and information about an "experience-based" M&E course that they will be adding in the fall. I'm so happy that I sent that thank you email because he has turned into an excellent source of information.

I've been watching the Democratic National Convention on PBS this week. The coverage is much more comprehensive than the networks, I like the commentary and analysis better, and there's virtually no commercial breaks. It's a shame that the networks didn't televise last night's session because Barack Obama's keynote address was pretty terrific (click the link for a transcript in case you missed it). On the other hand, it's probably to the Dems benefit that the networks did not televise last night because the rest of the speakers pretty much sucked. I consider myself an independent because I don't think either of the major parties get it right. Thanks to my background in economics, I'm fiscally "conservative" because I believe in smaller government and states' rights, yet on matters of civil liberties, reproductive rights, etc. other people would probably label my views as "liberal". Anyway, whether you agree with him or disagree with him, you have to admit that Barack Obama is a talented, charismatic speaker and will be a political force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Picasa is cool

Just playing around with publishing photos. I had to reformat my hard drive last night (don't ask), so in the process of reloading additional programs, music, and pictures I decided to add Picasa and Hello. I hope this works. I'm finally getting around to sharing a photo from Hawaii a month later!

Sunrise in Kauai Posted by Hello

*Edit to add: This is slick! Picasa & Hello are VERY easy to use. I'm impressed.

Friday, July 23, 2004

I have tasted the Wharton Kool-Aid...and it tastes good! As of last night, I'm officially off the fence and will be applying to Wharton.

Before I get to a recap of the event and why I'm a convert, I have a little tangent to take care of. I arrived at the event a few minutes early (not as much as I had hoped thanks to traffic) and imagine my surprise when I step off the elevator and run into a friend from undergrad at Washington State. Small world, eh? Come to find out he's also living in San Diego. I couldn't track him down after the break-out sessions and swap contact info so...Dave Otis, if by some chance you're reading this, email me!

The first 15 minutes or so was just a free-for-all social hour. I did not get any networking done since I spent most of the time catching up with Dave and meeting Dirty_Martini in person. After the social, they herded us into a large conference room and all of the alums (probably 15-20)  introduced themselves and provided little anecdotes from their time at Wharton. The host of the event went through a few slides with talking points for each of three main categories: Career, the Wharton Experience, and Applying. The alums volunteered their insights about each category. A couple of my favorite quotes:

"Play the hand you're dealt masterfully. Wharton will give you a new set of cards and the adcom wants to make sure you'll know how to play them well" (in regards to dealing with strengths and weaknesses in your application package)

"Don't bullshit the bullshitters" (in regards to students who serve on the adcom, who will see through any BS you put in your application because they've been there and done that)

Key messages for applying/getting in:  Don't be generic. Be sincere. Be specific. Bare your soul. Prove to the adcom how bad you want it.

Other highlights from the alums: The network is very powerful and it's worldwide. They know how to have a good time. Whartonites are very smart and worldly, yet humble and very candid.

What got me off the fence? The kicker was the media/entertainment breakout session. This was my biggest concern with Wharton. My post-MBA aspirations are in the strategic planning/business development realm of the sports media industry. Wharton is not known for media, nor is it in one of the media centers of the US. What I learned in the breakout is that somewhere like Anderson might make it easier to get a job, but your MBA will be very media focused and your network will be great in LA, but limited elsewhere. They really sold me on the idea that Wharton will provide a great general business management education that you can supplement with student group activities and working the worldwide network. And its so true. An MBA will not get you a job in media, passion and networking will. So Wharton gives you solid generalist knowledge, involvement in media related activities will signal your passion to potential employers, and the network will provide contacts to get a foot in the door. One other point is that coming out of Anderson, you're one of many trying to get in the door. Coming out of Wharton, you're one of a handful, and last night showed me that Whartonites are fiercely loyal and passionate about Wharton.

Dirty_Martini and I both walked out of there last night with Kool-Aid grins on our faces. I don't think they were trying to sell Wharton last night, but we were ready to buy.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Progress is good

Last night I went on a little fishing expedition. I looked up contact information for student groups related to sports/entertainment/media management at each of the programs I'm considering and sent out several emails in search of more information about the clubs, job/networking prospects, and the programs in general. To my pleasant surprise, I found a few responses in my inbox this morning. I figured it may take awhile to get a response since everyone is busy with internships this time of year, but a few kind souls were nice enough to reply back and answer my questions or offer to speak to me on the phone. I think this will provide some key information for me to finalize my list of schools and will help me be able to articulate why I'm interested in program X in my why MBA/why now/why program X essays. Good stuff, indeed.

Today, I'm cutting out of work early to head up to LA for the Wharton information session. Looking forward to meeting the infamous Dirty Martini there. Wharton is a program that I'm kind of "on the fence" about. Given my post-MBA aspirations, I'm not sure it's a natural fit, but it's worth getting some more information so I can get off the fence and move on with things. Traffic is going to be a nightmare no matter what time I leave. The info session is near the notoriously bad area of LAX, and OC/LA traffic in general sucks. It could be 11 pm on Saturday night and still be bumper-to-bumper on the 405. I will probably hit traffic before I even get north of La Jolla. Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack was yesterday and they are racing this afternoon so it could be ugly for most of the 120 mile trip. Yippee! Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Lazy weekend

After a fairly busy week at work, it was nice to have a somewhat lazy weekend. I made tentative plans to head up to Irvine to watch the Pro Wakeboard Tour, but ended up staying in San Diego so I could get some things done around my apartment while I had some free time.
Meeting my mentee was great. "M" is a very outgoing and friendly teenager. Her family is poor and as I said earlier is she one of 9 kids, so I can see how she might get lost in the shuffle. She opened right up to me and I think we're going to get along great. She has some big dreams, but it seems like no one has really helped her make a plan to achieve those goals. I hope I'll be able to help her get moving towards them. I'll probably be seeing her again next week. We'll spend the next month or so just getting to know & trust each other before we delve into the reproductive health curriculum. Lucky for us the program has a clinic tour scheduled for next month that should help us get started. I'm still a little nervous about this part of the program, but I think I'll do fine. It will be interesting to see what kind of questions she has and how much she'll want to know about my own personal experiences. I also want to incorporate some personal finance education into our relationship. Financial literacy is a major corporate citzenship initiative for my employer and it's also a cause I care about. I have so many friends whose parents never taught them about debt and financial responsibility. (My parents drilled it into me...they own a collection agency!) Many of them are up to their eyeballs in credit card debt and a couple have declared bankruptcy. It's sad. I don't know why my generation has this notion that they should start out after school at the same standard of living as their parents. We forget that they worked hard for years to save up for that new car, new furniture, or exotic vacation. With the wide availability of consumer credit, we live in a time of instant gratification and it's a slippery slope to being in over your head. I think some predatory lending does go on and is partially to blame (trust me, there are times when I feel like I work for the devil), but each of us are ultimately reponsible for our own finances. If kids aren't getting educated about it at home, I think it's time for our schools to step up and implement personal finance curriculum. OK, off the soapbox.
I looked into using an admission consultant before I left on vacation. I couldn't believe the expense involved and I took note that ad comms are known to frown on using these services. I decided to use Clear Admit for an assessment and application strategy recommendations only. I felt like it would be worthwhile to have an impartial third party with ad comm experience take a look at my profile and experiences and get an honest opinion about things that should be highlighted, weaknesses that need to be addressed, and potential pitfalls to avoid. I also feel very strongly that execution of this strategy is my task and should be done without professional assistance. This is something I want to accomplish via my own hard work. I received the assessment from Eliot on Friday and I'm very pleased with the feedback. I'm ready to dive into my essays and feel like I'm well on my way to getting some acceptance emails.
One thing he addressed I'll be contemplating for the next couple of months. Harvard & Stanford consider my GMAT score too old and I'd written them off as a result. I think my time and money will be better spent on putting together some kick ass applications for Kellogg, Wharton, Haas, and Anderson. He planted the idea in my head that I can send my current score reports to those schools, retake the GMAT, then send the new scores to just H/S. Even if I don't score as well, there's no risk because the other schools have my old report. Hmmm, I don't know. It's still a lot of time, effort, & money. I think I'll stick with my original plan and apply to the schools I'm currently targeting in round 1, then depending on how I feel, retake the GMAT and submit round 2 apps to H/S. I'll cross that bridge or take the ferry when the time comes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Great Concert

Went to the Sarah McLachlan concert last night, what a great show. She has a fantastic voice, did all of her favorite songs, played an hour and 40 minute set without so much as a water break, followed by a 20 minute encore. All of this for under $60 (she wanted to keep the show affordable, definitely could have charged more). It's been 6 years since her last tour and you can tell she is thrilled to be back on the road and in front of a crowd. Highly recommend! On a side note, I was surprised by the number of guys in the audience, much more than I expected. Lots of "date nights" apparently. I went with my friend A, she excused her husband from date night.

Do you ever notice how easy it is to get up early when you don't have to or when it's to do something fun, but if it's just to go to work it's torture? I think its something to do with the awful "beep, beep, beep" of the alarm. No matter if I go out the night before, I wake up naturally on the weekends feeling refreshed, around the same time my alarm would be driving me crazy during the week as I beg it for just one more snooze.

On the MBA front (it is the point of this blog after all so I should probably mention it), I've got some essay ideas outlined and I've compiled information that will be useful in completing the applications (performance appraisals, transcripts & class descriptions, score reports, etc). I really need to narrow down my schools and discover a "hook" for why I want to join each program. To that end I will be spending this week reading program reviews and tracking down contact info for current students that would be willing to chat with me about their experience. Narrowing down needs to happen soon because I need to send GMAT scores and I'd prefer not to waste money by only sending those that are necessary. I will be able to order transcripts from WSU, too.

I'm in the process of updating my resume. Yuck, what a task. I've been with the same company since UG so it has been seriously neglected and needs an overhaul. Thanks to Dave for posting the Wharton Resumes. It's nice to have a reference for what a typical MBA resume looks like. Kudos to Dave for keeping us all in the loop with deadlines & essay're the best, dude! His blog has so much valuable information for all of us MBA wannabes.

Since Riter enjoyed the Mai-Tai recipe, here's another one of my favorites: Dirty Margaritas. Not to be confused with the Dirty_Martini, its neither the drink nor the MBA blogger. My friend A taught me this one and I believe she got it from the book, The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, which is one of the funniest books I've ever read.

OK, here's the drink: Take one can frozen limeade concentrate (melted) and put it in a pitcher. Save the can because you need it for the next part. Add one can full of Sprite or 7-Up. Add one can full of your favorite tequila. Add a bottle of Corona. Serve on the rocks. Salt optional. That's it. I know it sounds a little weird, but the resulting concoction is fizzy limey goodness that is very buzz worthy.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


I'm really excited because tonight I meet the girl I'll be mentoring for the next 6 months, "M". I'm part of a program here in San Diego called BRIGHT Families. They have such a great mission. It's a mentoring program like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but it's a bit more structured and they have specific objectives towards preventing teen pregnancy/STIs/crime/etc. The big cities in CA have some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country and BRIGHT works with teens (girls AND boys, and their families) who live in the areas of San Diego with the highest rates. So far, I know that M is 15 years old, is one of 9 kids (!), and dreams of being an astronaut. I can't wait to meet her.

36 days until the Olympics start. I love the Olympics, particularly the Summer Games. My favorite event is gymnastics, since I was a competitive gymnast as a kid inspired by Mary Lou Retton in the 1984 Games. I think I signed up for my first class about a week after she won. I also enjoy track & field, swimming, & diving. I hope Greece is ready and I hope all of the athletes/delegations/fans are safe.

Have I mentioned I'm addicted to DVR/TiVo? Thank god I have it for the Olympics. I hate to miss anything and I love that I can fast forward through the ads and junk I don't want to see. Like Miranda of Sex & The City said, "TiVo is my boyfriend." It's one of those things, like my cell phone, that I wonder how I ever managed to live without it. I will put off watching a program just so I can have the joy of skipping the commercials.

First episode of "Amazing Race 5" was great, of course. I think it rocks that they have a little person on one of the teams. I hope they do well, but I think I'll be pulling for the father/daughter team to win since I would want to be paired with my dad if I was competing. He and I are excellent traveling companions. He joined me on a trip to Paris with an all-star dance team I was on in high school. We had a blast and I think it was our great attitudes that resulted in so many positive interactions with Parisians.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I'm baaack

For starters, I just got home from a friend's house and had an encounter with a nasty possum kicking it outside my front door. YUCK. Big, ugly overgrown rat. Gave me flashbacks to childhood when I found a possum that had hung itself in a fishing net inside our shed. Really, YUCK.

On a brighter note, Kauai was great. Two weeks vacation was great. Spending time with my mom was great. We went to all of our favorite beaches, read some great books, spent a day at a spa, and drank lots of Mai Tais (see the recipe below, it's the best). I took a kiteboarding lesson and it was awesome, can't wait to take another one. Add another boardsport to the list for this girl. Mom wasn't a ton of help on the b-school front, actually she just added to my anxiety about the mountain of debt I'll incur, but I did get some reading and outlines done. So it goes.

What did I do my first day back in San Diego? Yep, went to the beach. Can't get enough of the ocean. First day back at work was fine, I had a ton of email to sort through and I've got a healthy to-do list for the next couple weeks, but I'm re-energized from my vacation. I hope I can ride this momentum for the next few months through the application process.

Amazing Race 5 starts tonight, woohoo. Best reality show on TV, it would be a blast to do.

OK, for the Perfect Mai Tai, first you have to make "the recipe." This is your juice base. Combine 1/2 gallon orange juice, 1/2 gallon pineapple juice, 1/2 can lilikoi (passion fruit) concentrate (melted), and 2 glugs of orgeat/almond syurp. To that, add rum of your preference. Our favorite is a shot of coconut rum, a shot of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, and a float of Meyer's dark rum. YUM!