Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The secret is out

As I've posted on here before, my boss and my close co-workers (all 2 of them) are all in the loop with my business school plans, but I've kept it quiet at work outside of that small circle. I really wanted to keep it on a "need to know" basis until I had some decisions in hand and my boss was down with that. So imagine my surprise when I sit down in a meeting with several representatives from each department and have one of the senior managers (from a department other than mine) ask me how the b-school apps are going. Loud enough for other people to hear and go "What's that you say? You're applying to b-school?"

{picture my smiling face trying to hide the shock and desire to kick my boss's ass}

Yeah, not so happy about that, but what's done is done. I had my regular one-on-one development meeting with my boss shortly afterwards and I grilled him a little. I definitely felt betrayed by him and was not happy about the public ambush, but so it goes. He explained that at first he only told his boss (which is perfectly acceptable) and wanted to keep it that way. However, with the departure of one of our team members in early November and some reluctance by our site director to backfill the position, he had to bring more people in the loop and make the case for the backfill to maintain continuity of the business since I'll be leaving in less than a year (unless a catastrophe happens) and it will take a few months to hire someone and get them up to speed. He was in a crappy position and I understood why he did it, I just wish it could have been a little more discreet and I wish he would have told me before or immediately after he let the cat out of the bag so I wouldn't be caught off guard like that. The other thing that I'm worried about is corporate politics and what impact this might have on my performance rating/bonus. People are much less inclined to promote or reward someone who has plans to leave and they may make assumptions about checking out/slacking off in the final weeks. We'll see what happens, I just have to keep kicking ass and taking names and hope for the best.

My long awaited Chicago interview

Well, the fourth attempt was a charm and tonight I completed my interview for Chicago. I think it went pretty well. It was so conversational that it's hard for me to remember what specific questions were asked/answered, but I left feeling like my interviewer understood what I'm all about. He was a fairly young alum (98) and he works in the same industry as me so it was easy to lay the groundwork of the interview and really spend most of the time talking about why Chicago and why strategic planning/sports media & management. He was enthusiastic about my career plans and told me about his consulting experience and how that could be a back-up plan for me (work for a large consulting firm in their media/entertainment division or an industry specialized boutique consulting firm). He said that if most of my job search was off-campus, I could horde my bid points and use them to specifically target the big consulting firms and guarantee an interview. I thought that was helpful and indicated some confidence in my candidacy. We also talked about his experience with LEAD, both as a 1st year student and as a 2nd year facilitator. I think being a LEAD facilitator would be something I'd be interested in doing should I end up at the GSB. It sounds like an awesome experience.

I spent Turkey Day with a bunch of friends who are also non-native San Diegans. We had quite the spread and I'm glad it wasn't at my house because otherwise I would have gorged myself on leftovers. A couple of those friends are MBA grads who are working on starting up their own company, so it was really interesting talking to them about the whole MBA process and how they are making use of their knowledge (and of course their network) in their new venture. I went in to work for a few hours on Friday to get a couple of things done and make sure there were no fires to be put out since the rest of our team was OOTO. Saturday I met up with some friends for a little wakeboarding. IT WAS COLD! So much for that 120 degree rule I was talking about earlier. We met at the lake at 8:30 but it was pea-soup foggy and we couldn't launch the boat until the fog lifted 2 hrs later. Even then, it was still cloudy so the sun hadn't warmed up the air all that much. 54 F air temp, 55 F water temp. BRRR! Actually, it wasn't so bad while I was riding (except for my toes, and they turned purple to let me know when it was time to call it quits). It was worse in the boat afterwards. Thank goodness I packed my ski hat. And my friend just installed a heated shower on his boat...that warms the feet up quick :)

Stayed as far away from the malls/stores as possible this weekend. I'll have to go later this week to find a dress for our holiday party, but otherwise I will do all of my shopping online. It is just so much easier, especially when you have to travel. Rather than trying to fit everything in my suitcases and hope it doesn't get broken by careless baggage handlers, I ship everything to my parents' office and have them set it aside in my old room. I've done it this way every year since I moved away from home and it works like a charm.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The monkey has left the building!

After losing the last 6 straight to the bad guys (including the last 3 as the heavy favorite), my Cougars have finally brought the Apple Cup home to Pullman! This win salvages a less than spectacular season, and it means the puppies of UW have gone o-fer in the Pac-10 for the first time in decades. BUWAHAHAHAHA! I love it! I will admit that last night when all was said and done, it hardly felt like a celebration. All I felt was relief. I couldn't really enjoy the game as I was watching it because I was so tense that shit was going to happen, AGAIN, like it has the past 6 years. The Cougs have such a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, they even have a personalized verb for it....to Coug it. So while it looked like the game was in hand midway through the 3rd quarter with the Cougars up 28-10, I felt like I was going to throw up as I watched the Huskies start to rally in the 4th quarter. I don't think I've ever been so relieved to see time run out. Those last 90 seconds felt like forever. 28-25, Cougars win. Phew! I'm really happy I Tivo'd the game so I can watch it again and actually enjoy it and celebrate this victory the right way. I'm so happy for our seniors and for Wazzu fans everywhere and I hope this is the start of a new streak of Apple Cup wins for the good guys.

This morning was weird. We rarely get thunderstorms around here and we had a doozy around 6:30 this morning. Lots of very loud thunder and pouring rain. Now, it's beautiful, so I'm going for a walk around the bay!

Friday, November 19, 2004


I finally got my Chicago interview scheduled after the 4th attempt. Yippee! Man, that was frustrating! I had almost given up hope. I had been in contact with a member of the admissions committee this week and she told me if I still hadn’t heard anything from my assigned interviewer by Monday that they would either waive it or consider a phone interview. I’m really happy to get this thing scheduled because I feel like meeting someone face-to-face and being able to ask me questions and get to know my personality is a really important piece of my application. It’s interesting that the first interviewer assigned to me (that had recently moved to Cleveland) used to work for the same company as me, and the guy who is actually going to interview me works for a competitor. It’s a small world here in San Diego (definitely in terms of financial services companies)!

I’d like to send a shout out to all my fellow bloggers who received Wharton interview invites…you guys rock! Good luck with your interviews

TGIF…it has been a long week at work. Our quarterly forecasting process is ramping up and I’m taking the lead this quarter. In addition, we put together a pretty comprehensive strategic reporting deck this week and presented to senior management today. My boss was WAY stressed out about it and was in turn stressing me out, but the presentation went really well and I got great feedback…best presentation to senior management yet! Just in time for year end performance reviews, gotta love it. Is it happy hour yet??

No major weekend plans here. I need to get caught up on the chores I neglected because of long hours & stress this week. Never again will I rent an apartment without a dishwasher! Apple Cup is tomorrow, 4 pm PST…Last time WSU won was 1997, the game was in Seattle and I was a sophomore in college. It was an awesome game; they clinched a Rose Bowl berth and we all partied hard in Husky Stadium. It has been much too long since my boys won, but this is the year we get that damn monkey off our backs, I can feel it. Go Wazzu! Go Cougars! Beat those stinkin’ mutts!

Monday, November 15, 2004

UT/McCombs Interview

I completed my interview for McCombs today. I met with an alum who graduated a couple of years ago at his office. It lasted about 45 minutes and was a very casual conversation. I was a little nervous because the website said the dress code was business or business casual…which could mean a variety of things. My office is casual (I mean casual…I wear jeans most of the time and wore flip flops pretty much every day this summer). Since I would be leaving mid-day for the interview and didn’t want to change, I went with business casual. My boss and direct colleagues know what I’m up to, but people outside our team don’t and I’d prefer to keep it that way. Anything dressier than slacks and a sweater set would draw way to much attention at work. The alum I interviewed with works at a local investment management firm, and while I was pretty sure they’d be business casual (this is San Diego not New York, after all), there was a chance my guess would be wrong and I’d feel uncomfortably underdressed. Lucky for me, I was right.

It was interesting because he asked me if I had trouble finding the place and I said no, I didn’t because I had been there before. He of course asked why and I answered him honestly…I had been there a couple of months ago for the Kellogg information session. Gaaaah! Have now admitted interest in another to school to interviewer!!! Doom. Dooooom. (Yes, I’ve just re-read Bridget Jones Edge of Reason, so that was Bridget-inspired.) Anyway, he put me at ease and said obviously you’re applying other places, don’t worry about it, this interview is just about your fit with UT/McCombs. Phew! A brief summary of the things we talked about:

--walked through my resume
--future career goals/why mba/why now/why McCombs
--talk about experience working as a part of a team in work experience
--hypothetical situation: you’re a part of a team and someone is not carrying their weight, what do you do
--what part of your application do you think could use some improvement
--any questions I had for him about UT/McCombs/Austin

He told me he was going to go off the script a bit and I’m glad he did because I think I was able to genuinely portray myself in my answers to his questions. I felt like it went really well and he confirmed that when he told me he would be strongly recommending me for admission and that he felt I would be a good fit for UT. He gave me his card and told me that he knew I’d be getting admissions and that if I needed to bounce some ideas off him or one of his colleagues (they have quite the range of MBA program representation) to give him a call. Very nice guy and a great representative for McCombs.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Wakeboarding & Football

Hit Lake Elsinore today for a little quality time on the water. It's been about a month since I've been wakeboarding due to weather, friends in town, too many things to do, etc. I needed a wakeboarding fix BAD. I left San Diego at 7 am; it was a beautiful morning and a nice drive. Unfortunately, when I got to the lake it was pretty much blown out (i.e. wind chop), but we were all dying to ride so we gave it a go. It was CHILLY but tolerable, especially with a drysuit. My minimum requirement to ride is 120 F combined air & water temp. We were well above that (water 60 F, air 68 F) but the wind made it feel a lot colder. The lake was all chopped up except for one little corner, so we each got a couple pulls in and called it a day.

Washington State got waxed by Arizona State yesterday. (And the Seahawks lost today...ugh...at least my fantasy football team is kicking ass.) Always sucks to see my team lose (especially when it eliminates their chances a bowl game) but I thought TBS did an excellent job with the broadcast, especially the halftime ceremony to honor Pat Tillman and retire his jersey. All the ASU players wore "PT" stickers on their helmet. WSU coach Bill Doba & the team also wanted to honor him by wearing PT helmet stickers and did so after getting the OK from his family. I thought it was a very nice gesture and it reaffirms by belief that Doba is a class act. Time to move on from the loss as today is the first day of Apple Cup week. The Apple Cup is the annual rivalry game between Washington State University & the University of Washington. WSU has lost the last 7 in a row and it is time to get that monkey off our backs. These guys now have nothing to lose, and this will be a psuedo bowl game for both teams, so I think it will be a very good game. Wish I could get back to Pullman to see it, but I'll have to settle for getting together with a big group of San Diego Cougs at a bar to cheer our boys on. Beat those stinkin' Dawgs! Go Cougars!

One apple farmer has used the rivalry to create new marketing idea..."branding" apples with the WSU and UW logos. Pretty cool!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

No Whammies

I had to take mandatory anti-money laundering computer-based training at work today. That was 30 minutes well spent. Now I know a lot more about money laundering than I did before and if I’m ever in the unlikely situation where I need to launder some dirty cash, I have an idea of what NOT to do. Somehow, I don’t think this was the intention of the training. Anyway, every time we have to do stuff like this, I think of that old Warren G song… “REGULATORS!!! Mount up!” …Bank Secrecy Act, Patriot Act, FCRA, TILA, FDCPA, OFAC, AMLA, GLB, Sarb-Ox…you want job security? Work in Compliance!

I think the 4th attempt might be a charm on the Chicago interview. This time I was assigned an interviewer, given contact information, and he actually lives in San Diego. No reply from him yet, so I’m not officially declaring victory, but I feel closer to it. No word yet from Haas on an interview invite; keeping busy preparing for McCombs interview next week.

Speaking of Chicago, it’s been report by PowerYogi that Chicago has extended it’s Round 1 deadline from 11/12 to 11/15. Interesting. At least they notified people before the R1 deadline, unlike Michigan. Makes no difference to me, my app has already been launched into adcom-land. I think there were a couple other bloggers out there with Chicago R1 aspirations that had given up, hopefully you guys can pull something together for Monday.

Now that the apps are done, it’s time to start worrying about paying for this little endeavor. So I will spend this wait time investigating scholarships, financial aid, etc.

I have two recurring b-school related dreams. One worst case scenario, the other best case scenario. The first dream slash nightmare…I don’t get in anywhere, I don’t find out until the end of January so I’ve missed all R2 deadlines, have to re-take the GMAT, roll the dice in R3, and end up stuck in a job I don’t particularly like. The second dream I wake up with a smile on my face every time….get in several places and they offer me lots of scholarship money, I get a great performance rating and therefore a big bonus in March, quit in April (or they decide to downsize and I get a severance package, even better!), put my stuff in storage and travel until it’s time to go to school. Just picture me crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, rubbing a rabbit’s foot and saying a Hail Mary (even though I’m not Catholic)... "C'mon Option #2, BIG MONEY, NO WHAMMIES!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


5 applications, 4 visits, 9 recommendations, 22 essays, and approximately 12,000 words later, I'm done.

Well, sorta.

I submitted by Chicago app this morning after one final read-thru. Feels good to be done with the application part of this process. Although I can't say I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I think I've traded one weight for another "wait." Time to keep myself busy to avoid dwelling too long on questions like "Will they like me? Am I good enough? Did I just spot a typo?! Did I bomb that interview? What happens if I don't get in anywhere? What happens if I get in everywhere?" Now that last one's a problem I'm sure we'd all love to have, but it's not very likely so I won't spend much time worrying about it. However, there are things I really like about each of the programs I've applied to and if I am faced with a decision between two or more, it's going to be tough.

I've got my McCombs interview scheduled for next week and I'm really looking forward to it. They turned the interview invite around pretty quick (3 days after going complete) so hopefully if I get the interview done quickly they will be inclined to send me a final decision quickly. I am still struggling to get an off-campus interview scheduled with Chicago. I put in my first request at the beginning of October. I hadn't heard anything from them after three weeks, so I had to cancel that request and re-request the interview. That time I got a pretty quick response. However, it turns out the alum assigned to me recently moved to Cleveland! How's that for luck? So, my second request was cancelled and I made a third request. It has now been a week and *nothing*. I attended a Chicago GSB Women in Business reception here in San Diego last week and the alum assured me that there are about 100 GSBers in this area. Not sure what the deal is, but since I'm on my third request with no prospects, it's looking pretty bleak and I'm thinking I'll probably end up in the "interview waived" category. At least I've shown a serious interest in the program by making a visit, attending events, and making several attempts at scheduling an interview. So it goes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Interview news

Got to work this morning and, to my pleasant surprise, I found an email from McCombs inviting me to interview :) It's amazing how validating it was to read that email. It's confirmation that things are moving along and that my application is competitve. Word on the BW boards is that McCombs interviews about half of all applicants and 96% of admits. I have two weeks to register for an interview and since their admissions are rolling I'd like to get it done ASAP to help expedite a decision. Since work is really busy for me this month, I don't think I'll be heading to Austin to interview, so I was happy to see there are several alumni interviewers in my area.

Took the afternoon off to drive up to LA for my interview at Anderson. Lucky for me there was also an information session and a "Women & the MBA" event. Three birds, one stone! The interview was with a 2nd year student and last about 40 minutes. Nothing out of the ordinary with this interview, basic resume review/why mba/why now/why Anderson. The interviewer and I established a quick rapport and I feel like she understood my motivations, so I feel like it was a good interview. The information session was with two 2nd year students. I really enjoyed hearing about the Applied Management Research project, which is a two quarter practicum required to graduate. You can do a field study with an existing company, work on starting your own company, or do an academic research project. You get to pick your team and your project. One example project was consulting for the Santa Barbara Fire Department, doing a feasibility study for a potential merger of the city and county fire departments. It seems like an awesome program and a good way to build on your internship with even more practical experience, which is great for career changers. It also sounds like due to the flexibility of the program in year 2 and the location, that it's totally feasible to continue to have an internship during your second year. The Women's event was pretty cool. It started with a social hour with snacks and mingling with 2nd year students at tables by industry/function. I was impressed with every student I spoke to. Although the formal presentation started a half hour late, it was interesting. Linda Baldwin gave a short address and told us that it was an excellent time to apply (I'm thinking maybe round 1 apps are low?), then there were two panel discussions. One was with alums, one with current students. It was interesting to hear the career changing stories of the alums. There were some good questions from the audience and some head scratching questions. One woman was really determined to find out exactly how many hours a week each panel member worked after her MBA. Ah, call me crazy but that's not an MBA issue, that's a choice of employer issue. An MBA doesn't mean you have to work 100 hrs a week in investment banking. If anything, an MBA gives you way more options. I'm beginning to realize that many women have misconceptions about the MBA, and I'm glad that organizations like the Forte Foundation and this UCLA event exist to dispel some of those myths.

Sounds like Anderson releases decisions weekly and will probably start releasing Round 1 decisions around Thanksgiving up to the January cutoff. I'll be waiting...and waiting...and developing OCD checking my email and status! :)

One other thing...for those of you out there with little to no work experience, the folks at Anderson were really pushing the message that they are open to early career folks (0-2 years work experience). I'm not an advocate of b-school without work experience, but they said if you feel like you're ready for an MBA, go ahead and apply. I think you'll get more out of it with experience and the context it provides, but I think they see this early career thing as a way to get more women interested in the MBA. Women do the math...22/23 out of undergrad + 5 years work experience + 2 years MBA, means you're 29/30 and re-starting your career...when do you start a family? It's probably a deterent to some women, like the one who was so worked up about how many hours a week the panel members work.

Monday, November 01, 2004

4 down, 1 to go

Submitted my Anderson app today and my Texas app over the weekend. I'm in the home stretch now with just Chicago remaining. I have procrastinated like crazy on a couple of the Chicago essays (because they're a bit off the wall) so I need to get crackin'. I'll be headed up to LA later in the week for my interview. I'm still waiting to hear about a Chicago interview. There were none available while I was visiting and my original off-campus interview request was received but not matched up so I had to re-request it last week. Still no word on that. Cue the Jeopardy theme music for all of this waiting.

My boss received his thank you gift on Friday, but told me today that he could not accept it. So awkward! I'm really disappointed that he won't accept it. Well, now I have two nice bottles of wine from my home state for a special occasion. My friends and I will probably have an orphans Thanksgiving since we are all from other places and unable to go home until Christmas. I'll break out the good stuff for that. Plus, my parents went to the Oregon-Washington State game a few weeks ago and picked up some Cougar Gold, a delicious and award-winning cheese produced by the WSU Creamery. She promised to send me a can for Thanksgiving and it will go great with the wines I selected.

I am soooooo ready for the election to be over, but I fear that it will drag out even more than it did last year, with all these teams of lawyers geared up in their Lear jets, ready to jump on the slightest hint of impropriety. I'm trying to finish reading up on the 53,426 propositions I must vote on tomorrow (really, it's more like 10 local and 20 state, but still...that's a lot of information and MISinformation to sort through and arrive at an informed decision). I talked to my mom earlier and I wanted to vomit when she dropped a "Fair and Balanced" on me and made fun of C-SPAN for giving full coverage of today's final push of the Kerry stumping. Hey mom, lay off the Fox News, they aren't exactly fair and balanced either. Damn, just got another spam phone call from the Lori Saldana for Assembly camp. They've been averaging 2 a day! Enough already!!!! Yes, I'm voting tomorrow, and no, I'm not going to promise my vote to anyone because it's noneyabizness ;)