Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Refuse to Lose 10th Anniversary

Also known as the 10th Anniversary of the summer that I (and the rest of the Pacific Northwest) fell in love with the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball.

Fox Sports Northwest just replayed Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series between the Mariners and the Yankees. Brought back a lot of memories. That was such an awesome summer. No one thought the M's had a chance at making the playoffs. Instead they had a pretty magical run through September, and won their first ever AL West championship in a fantastic one game playoff with the Angels. They lost the first two games in New York (Game 2 in 15 innings), and had to win 3 straight in Seattle to advance to the ALCS. Thus began the "Refuse to Lose" campaign.

The series had a great cast of characters, in both dugouts. For the Mariners...Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buehner, Randy Johnson (who came in as a reliever in Game 5), Tino Martinez, Joey Cora, and a 20-year-old pre-sellout rookie named Alex Rodriguez. For the Yanks, the old guard of Wade Boggs & Don Mattingly, with Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, and a couple of rookies...Mariano Rivera & Derek Jeter. There were also some first class mullets on display thanks to Randy Johnson & Norm Charlton!

Game 5 was wall-to-wall excitement through 11 innings. Every time the Yanks scored, the M's found a way to match it. 5-4 Yanks going into the bottom of the 11th, with the heart of the Seattle batting order coming to the plate. Cora gets on by the skin of his teeth with a lead off bunt, then Griffey gets a walk. Up comes Edgar, coming off a grand slam in game 4, and he just rips a shot to the left field corner to bring home Cora & Griffey. Pan-de-fricken-monium, the place goes bonkers.

A baseball town is born. The road is paved for Safeco Field, record-setting attendance, Ichiro, and 116 wins in 2001. But we're all still waiting and hoping for a World Series championship. Someday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Not a happy camper

Of course the weather decided to go straight into the crapper as soon as I had plans to go wakeboarding. Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor.

I guess I should go to the gym and work out after work. But when you were hoping to spend the evening on the lake, the prospect of sweating it out on a cardio machine surrounded by meat heads is not all that enticing.

So it goes.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Love summer in the Pacific Northwest. Today was ridiculously beautiful. Clear blue skies, no smog, 80 degrees. It's almost 9 pm and the sun won't set for another half hour. Just awesome.

And I had to work.

And I haven't been wakeboarding in more than two months.

I am *jonesin* for some time on the water, y'all. And I may be in luck tomorrow if the weather stays nice. My dad introduced me this evening to a friend of his that lives on Lake Samish. He keeps his boat wet all summer and his son wakeboards. I'm putting my gear in my car tomorrow and I will be praying for an evening session on a glassy lake.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tough Chick

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set a big goal, aren't afraid of hard work, and face challenges with a "bring it on" attitude. Exhibit A: Danielle Fisher, a local girl who recently became the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits (the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents). Very, very cool. You can learn more about her journey at her website, in our local paper, or tomorrow morning (Friday 6/17) on the Today show.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

One year

Hard to believe I’ve been at this blogging thing for a year now. It was about 15 months ago that I began working in earnest towards my goal of enrolling in an MBA program, a goal that I set 6 years ago. And in just 3 short months, I’ll be back in school starting the next phase of my goal…completing my program and pursuing my dream career. Pretty damn cool when you stop and think about it. I’m really glad I have my blog, so that I can read back and reflect on what has transpired. It’s also been very rewarding to be part of the online community.

What I haven’t done yet, and what I promised to do awhile ago, is a review of my application process and the outcome. I think this is the perfect time do it since it was around this time last year that my preparations began, and maybe those preparing for Fall 2006 applications will find a post-mortem of my application process useful. What I am not going to do is tell people what to do or give advice. Every applicant is unique and so should be his or her application strategy. What worked for me may not work for others, and vice versa. I’m just going to use this post to do a sort of self-assessment, and I think in another year-in-review post I’ll link to the highlights & lowlights. I didn’t participate in any feedback sessions so these thoughts are all just my opinions.

What I did well:

1. Rocked the GMAT. I took it during my senior year of undergrad and I think that definitely worked in my favor. I was in the studying/school frame of mind, I had time and energy to take full practice tests (the most critical piece of my GMAT prep), and material was fresh in my mind. I’m not sure that I could post the same score today, in fact I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t. Five years of corporate life may have added to my practical experience, but it’s been a bit of a brain drain on the other facets of knowledge. I’m also glad I didn’t have to worry about studying for and taking the test while researching programs, drafting essays, and working 50 hours a week. There are just not enough hours in the day.

2. Got involved with things that interest me and stayed involved. This applies both professionally and personally. I sought out new and different projects at work, but I stuck with the same employer, one that’s know for a rigorous hiring process and good development programs. I stayed involved with my sorority, volunteering for leadership positions that would help fill in the management gap in my profile since I have no formal people management experience.

3. Supported my goals with a backbone. What I mean by that is I’m dreaming big, but I have realistic expectations for an MBA’s role in the process of getting there and I demonstrated a clear understanding of the challenges I’ll be facing. My big goal is broken into smaller goals, which are further broken down into specific activities and experiences I’ll need to get where I’m going, particularly those that can be obtained by completing an MBA program.

4. Visited the programs I was interested in, or at least attended every information session possible. When people said it was an important way to differentiate the programs, I didn’t realize how important until I was deciding between admission offers and could reflect back on my *personal* experiences, not just the experiences of others or the pretty brochures the programs sent me.

5. Didn’t allow too many cooks in the kitchen. Sure, I was seeking advice from anyone who had knowledge about MBA programs and I was addicted to reading the blogs and the MBA forums. I also got an application strategy consultation from Clear Admit fairly early in the process, which helped me to figure out what to focus on and how I should position myself. Filling out their questionnaire alone went a long way toward helping me get a coherent train of thought for my applications. But when it came time to actually write each application, it was pretty much me and only me. I sought my mom’s proofreading help, but specifically asked her to focus on just the spelling and grammar because I wanted my applications to be my voice, my story, without outside influence.

6. Didn’t over-prepare for interviews. I hate canned answers and I hate sounding like a robot. All I did for each interview was read over my resume and my application essays the night before and the day of my interview. That’s it. It kept me sounding natural and it also kept me from stressing out too much or over-analyzing.

What I could have done better:

1. Eliminated procrastination. I should have set a better application schedule from the get-go and stuck to it. I definitely rushed some elements. When I start up at the GSB in the fall, I need to get a handle on my predilection for frittering away time in the face of a big project.

2. Completed my back-up application first (McCombs), rather than one of my top choices (Kellogg). Reading back over my applications and remembering back on my interviews, which Kellogg was my first completed for both, my first ones were my weakest ones.

3. Sucked it up and completed 6 applications in the first round, instead of stubbornly holding onto the limit of 5 I placed on myself. I would have been better off if my Wharton app had been in with all my others, and it was my procrastination and laziness that got the better of me.

4. Not have gone into my Wharton visit & interview somewhat cocky and apathetic. It took place after my scholarship news from Chicago & UCLA Anderson, and I really liked both of those programs and felt pretty certain I would end up at one or the other no matter what happened with Wharton. Even so, I should have gone into my Wharton trip with a better attitude and a more open mind, instead of undermining my application the way I did. That was stupid.

5. Not let my shing in 2000 mess with my confidence and cause me to play it too safe. Looking back, I probably should have skipped the apps to McCombs & Haas and instead gambled on HBS and/or Stanford.

6. Saved more money over the past 5 years. Sure, I’ve been putting plenty away in my 401k, but this process requires cash money…a lot of it. My cash savings is pretty much spoken for at this point, between application fees, school visits, moving expenses, etc etc. There’s not much left over for fun things like pre-MBA travel. I feel a bit like I’m missing out and that sucks. At least I’ve been pretty good about paying off my debt and I’ll be headed to school with no car payment and a very low revolving credit card balance.

Anyway, that’s the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as I’m concerned. All-in-all, I think everything turned out A-O-K and I’m really looking forward to the next two years at Chicago GSB.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Jeez, everywhere I turn I'm reading about somebody else's worldly travels. There are so many bloggers traveling this summer before school (Iceman, PowerYogi, DirtyMartini, and Le Voyageur, to name a few), and I'm getting travelogue emails from an Indian friend who is headed to NYU Stern in the fall but is currently kicking it with some German chicks in Cuba. I am green with envy. I wish I had saved more time & money for travel this summer. Not just for fun and the experience, but so that I have a more interesting answer to the question everyone will be asking in the fall "What did you do over the summer?" than "Well, I lived with mom & dad, worked with mom & dad, and got fat from all of the home cooking."

But in the nick of time, I get an email from the Chicago GSB '07 Yahoo Group. Evidently, the Ski Club is planning a ski/snowboarding trip for the winter holiday break. Cool, that's right up my alley. To Vail. For a week. For under a grand. Woo-freaking-hoo. This is exactly why I asked for a little more money than my personal budget required on my loan applications, because I may have missed out on summer traveling but I sure as hell will be traveling during winter & spring break.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I have great timing

Just found out this afternoon that my former employer is closing the San Diego office, sometime between Q3 2005 and Q1 2006. Although I may have missed out on some severence $$$ that may have helped during school, I'm not sure exactly what my eligibility would have been (since my impending departure was already widely known), so rather than being bummed, I'm happy as hell not to be there as the shit is hitting the fan. Many of us saw the need for the shit to hit the fan and figured it was eventually going to happen, we just didn't know exactly when the execs were going to nut up and pull the plug. I've talked to my friends who are impacted, and most feel confident that things will work out OK for them. It sounds like they are consolidating non-redundant functions to another office (in a cheaper location than San Diego) and eliminating redundant functions. So there are opportunities to transfer offices, assuming you're willing to leave San Diego. Anyway, IMO, it's the right business decision and it's about time they did it.

A little severence to subsidize school would have been nice though...

Update: the official press release, the AP's blurb, and the local take. Talked to more people last night, sounds like there were good things about the way the company handled it and not so good things. It also sounds like they cut severence to a third of what it used to be. I might have been eligible for two months. Yeah, I'm glad I left when I did, my sanity is worth more than two months. My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs, I hope everyone is able to land on their feet.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Another check off the to-do list

Finished my financial aid application. I feel like I should have signed it in blood. Those are big numbers, even with the scholarship, this is some massive debt about to hit my credit report. Keep repeating the mantra...I'm making an investment in myself that will pay off in the long run. And I'm going to have a whole lot of fun in the process!

Saw two movies this weekend. Went to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with a friend on Friday night. Somewhat disappointing, but an OK chick flick. I enjoyed three of the four plot lines. The fourth sucked out much of my enjoyment of the movie. Went with my folks to see the latest installment of Star Wars this evening. I enjoyed it, despite the typical Lucus hokey dialogue and subpar acting. The story was good and I liked seeing the overall Star Wars tale come full circle.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I hate chain letters and their brethern

Thanks a lot, Dave :) I've been tagged. At least it's a subject I like.

-Total number of books owned: No way to say for sure, since my cache of hardbacks & paperbacks is in storage in Chicago, with the exception of the few titles I planned to read this summer and a couple of textbooks I planned to revisit in preparation for b-school (as if that's really going to happen). I would guesstimate my library is around 250.

-Last book I purchased: For someone else, The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss, a board book for my friend's son for his first birthday party this afternoon. For myself, God's Politics by Jim Wallis, a book I picked up at Costco based on a recommendation from my hairdresser. I really like his ideas, but it's not a book I can read in one sitting, so I'm reading it a chapter or two at a time in between other books.

-Last book I read: Since I traveled this past week (and I always read more when traveling) I've read two. Like Dave, I read State of Fear by Michael Crichton on the way to Chicago, based on a recommendation from my dad (plus he had a hardcover copy so I didn't have to buy it). I liked it, it was a fast read and I liked his critique of the media/propaganda circus. Coming back to Seattle, I read The Enemy by Lee Child. It was just OK. The plot was pretty good and I liked the twists (although I saw a couple coming, which takes some of the fun out of it). What I didn't like was the actual writing/language. It was done in the first person, and I've found that with first person books, I either love it or hate it depending on the primary character's voice and the way the author writes that voice. I could see some of the reasons behind why the author wrote him the way he did, but I didn't find myself enjoying it or really rooting for him. I just wanted to know what happens next and that kept me turning the pages.

Five books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):
-The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay: Race relations, poverty, coming of age, perseverance & triumph...this book covers it all and it's a great story. Plus, I love books set in foreign places.
-Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: A fairy-tale-esque romantic novel slash cookbook. Kind of a fable. Better than the movie, I've read it at least 5 times.
-The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George: The first historic fiction book I ever read that got me hooked on the genre. I'm blown away by the amount of research she did to stay accurate to the history while giving us a fictional insider's perspective on the man who had 6 wives (and beheaded two of them!)
-What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles: The ultimate career planning & job hunting book, updated annually.
-The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: I love all of his books, and they remind me of being a kid and visiting my grandparents (who gave me & my brother The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends). This one is my favorite because of it's message about giving and loving unconditionally.

On that note, I'm going to *give* everyone a break and not tag anybody. But it's not a purely altruistic move, because as I stated from the outset...I hate chain letters and the like. So really I'm being a spoil-sport and breaking the chain. Neaner, neaner.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Living arrangements for the fall? Check!

Back from Chicago. Another great visit, can't wait to move there in August (actual date still TBD). Toured the potential apartment, met the potential roommate...it's going to work out fabulously! The place is huge, and while it's very near the "L" (read: you can hear the trains, it's the one drawback of the place, but it didn't keep me awake), the amenities, location, and price cannot be beat. And my roomie and I are a good match. So I'm really relieved to have that figured out, definitely worth the trip.

Now I just have to finalize my budget and get that darn financial aid paperwork out the door ASAP!