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.