Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe another year has gone by, and even harder to believe that tomorrow starts 2009. It has been quite a year too. As I look back a year, I had just gotten denied by Chicago and was looking at an 0 for 3 application season. I had 6 months remaining on my 2 year assignment at work, so I was concerned about finding a new project/role at work. I was questioning my career goals and my viability as an MBA candidate, and just generally felt lost. Needless to say I was a bit down. Fast forward to today. I have 2 admits in hand and my work situation has been pretty well least until I resign this summer. My career goals once again seem realistic and achievable. I am in a much happier place. Overall, 2008 was an interesting year, and 2009 promises to be even more exciting as I start my preparations to leave for bschool in earnest.

I've been giving a lot of thought to Kellogg vs. Duke ever since I got the scholarship offer from Duke, and I think I've made up my mind. As I thought about attending DAK, possible KWEST trips, moving to Chicago and "the Kellogg experience", I was excited about the idea of attending Kellogg. When I thought about Blue Devil Weekend, moving to Durham and "Team Fuqua", I just wasn't nearly as excited. I realized that the reasons I had in favor of Kellogg were related to the school and program itself, while the only reason I was seriously considering Duke over Kellogg was the money. Sure, the money is nice, but 25 years from now I think I'd regret passing on the opportunity of attending Kellogg because of money. So, as hard as it will be to walk away from $46,000, once my official transcripts arrive from my undergrad school, I'll be sending in my deposit and transcripts to Kellogg.

I hope everyone has a great 2009, and that the new year brings good news to everyone still waiting to hear decisions.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another surprise from Duke

Well I received my admissions package from Duke today. There was a business card holder, a Duke Fuqua sticker, some information about Blue Devil Weekend (and a magnet to remind me of the date) and my official admissions letter. Then at the bottom of the box I saw an envelope marked "MERIT SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION". I figure it's a letter from the financial aid office with information about the scholarship process, since the online admission letter scholarship info would be sent in 2 weeks and it's only been a week. However, as I started reading the second paragraph of the letter, I quickly realized it's an award letter: Duke is offering me a half-tuition scholarship! I have to say, I'm a bit surprised. I thought I had a shot at some money from Duke, but didn't think it would be this much. I'm still leaning very much towards Kellogg - I don't know that I would be happy passing up the chance to go there - but this is going to make the decision a lot tougher.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An early Christmas gift from Kellogg

I received my admissions package this morning from a none-too-merry UPS guy. I can't imagine how busy those guys are this week. But anyway, the admissions package. It contained my official admissions letter from Beth Flye, some information from student affairs, a letter from IT about the admitted student website/email/etc., a Kellogg-branded laptop sleeve, and Kellogg-branded wireless mouse. Oh, and the remittance form for sending in the $1500 tuition deposit. I think I'm about ready to make my commitment to Kellogg. I've pretty much decided that regardless of the financial package Duke may or may not give me, I just can't pass up the opportunity to go to Kellogg. I'll give HBS the opportunity for formally reject me in a few weeks (although I did contemplate the "quit-before-you're-fired" move of withdrawing my HBS application), then send in the deposit to Kellogg.

This will probably be my last post before I take some time off for the holidays, so I hope everyone's holidays are happy, and good luck to everyone still waiting to hear R1 decisions.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Took the time to register for DAK yesterday, which will be Feb. 6-8. I guess it'll be a good introduction to what I should expect from the Chicago winters. Nonetheless, I'm really excited to go. I had a great visit to the school when I applied, so I think I'm more excited about meeting my potential classmates than about seeing what the school has to offer. The schedule looks like it'll provide a lot of time for socializing and getting to know both the current students and the incoming students, which will be nice. A few current students have said it's a good idea to try and get housing somewhat organized during DAK weekend, so I'll be trying to do that as well - if only to save me another trip to Evanston later in the spring/summer to find housing.

My plan is to relax through the holidays and not think about bschool at all. After New Year's though, I'll have to start on the to-do list...and pretty close to the top of that list is to meet with a realtor about the possibility of selling my apartment in NJ. I can't wait to hear what they have to say.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

...and a surprise from Duke!

So I wasn't expecting a decision from Duke until 9am tomorrow. Nowhere had anyone even hinted at the possibility of decisions being released before 9am tomorrow. Yet I checked my email this afternoon and there it was: a note from Duke Admissions. Nope - not a survey or info session or any of the other crazy things that Admissions Offices send out in the midst of the application season. It was an email saying my decision was available.

I log into the application system, click on the decision link, and up pops this flash animation about the Duke MBA. After a second or so, it says "Congratulations!". Well, top marks to Duke for creativity. The admit letter was hidden behind the animation, and I am in! Definitely a nice pick-me-up after the disappointment from Chicago earlier today. Info on scholarships will be sent in about 2 weeks, so now I get to look forward to my official admit package from Kellogg and Duke scholarship info. All in all, not a bad way to head into the holidays.

No news was not good news

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your interest in Chicago Booth...Unfortunately we are not able to offer you admission into the Class of 2011. Again.

Ok, I get it Chicago. We're just not right for each other. The chemistry isn't there. It's not you it's me. There's plenty of fish in the sea. Yada, yada, yada.

I am disappointed in not getting an admit at Chicago. I really thought I had put together a better application than last year, but I guess it just didn't cut it. However, since I already have an admit from one of my dream schools, the disappointment is mild. I guess it's really just ego at this point to want to be in a position to have to choose between top-tier business schools. Well with my decision of whether to enroll in Kellogg or Chicago conveniently made for me by Rose & the Adcom, I can say I'm 99% sure I'll be in Evanston next fall. The 1% is really only if something extraordinarily unlikely happens - something on the order of HBS admitting me even though I haven't even been invited to interview yet, or Duke admitting me and offering some massive scholarship $$.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nothing from Chicago

Well, it's pretty late in the day and I haven't received a call from Chicago. Last year this was a pretty bad sign, so I'm thinking I'm getting the dear John letter tomorrow morning. If I don't get in, it'll be disappointing, but also on the bright side it'll make my enrollment decision a heck of a lot easier. Only 15 more hours and I'll know for sure.

Pre-holiday push

It never seems to fail that the week before Christmas is one of the busiest of the year at work. I guess everyone's trying to get things wrapped up before they go on vacation for the holidays. This year sure isn't an exception - this week has been crazy at work. I have back-to-back-to-back meetings and conference calls all day (and sometimes even am double booked in simultaneous meetings and conference calls). Then at about 6:30 or so the meetings all stop and I can finally start doing the work I actually need to accomplish that day. The upside of this is that it's made it easier to wait for decisions from Chicago and Duke, since I don't have much time to think about waiting. Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky ones to get a call from Chicago when they start contacting the admits today. Of course, the odds are pretty good that I'll be in a meeting so I'm actually looking forward to the voicemail. I guess this is good practice for the kind of time management skills I'll need at school.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Or more accurately, the lack of motivation. Ever since getting the admit call to Kellogg, I have not been able to focus on work. My productivity has dropped dramatically, and I spend more time than ever checking out the BW and GMATClub forums. Part of it is the fact that I know that I'll be resigning from my job in 6 months so I really have the mindset that I'm just marking time at work, and also unfortunately the work I'm doing at the moment isn't all that exciting.

I can't wait for next week to be over. First, I'll have my decisions from Chicago and Duke, and can start more seriously thinking about where to enroll. Also, it means the beginning of a 2 week vacation for the holidays. It can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Still waiting

So, you ask, what's it like to be a newly admitted MBA student? Well it's much less stressful, to be sure, than to not have an admit yet. But it still involves quite a bit of waiting. I've already read through the entirety of the Kellogg admitted students portal, but it's still too early to make an enrollment decision. I like Kellogg a lot, but also like Chicago a lot so at a minimum I am going to wait until next week's Chicago decision. If I do get accepted to Chicago, then I probably won't be making a decision until after both schools' admitted students weekend. If I don't get into Chicago, then my decision becomes easier since I haven't gotten an interview invite from HBS.

What about Duke and Columbia? Well, this week I'm going to withdraw my application to Columbia. I just never got as excited about Columbia as I did about the other schools I applied to. I was really impressed by Duke when I visited. It's got a solid healthcare program, the students were incredibly friendly, everything seemed very well run, and the facilities were very impressive. But, I wasn't excited about the possibility of living in Durham, NC, and while the quality of the program is very high, it doesn't match Kellogg. But with the decision date so close, and with the impressive campus visit, I plan to see what the outcome is before making any final decisions on Duke.

I know it's premature to start weighing Kellogg vs. Chicago vs. Duke since I've only actually been admitted to one school. Quite possibly, I won't have a decision to make. But with nothing else to do for admissions, I can only wait, and think about what if's?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm Back!

Wow it's been a while, and a lot has happened since the last time I posted. The weather has turned wintery cold (there was even a dusting of snow on the ground when I woke up this morning). After two years of dominating the news, the Presidential Election finally ended. There were holidays and vacations. The New York Giants are off to their best start in franchise history. I applied to 5 schools in round 1 (not exactly the list I wrote about in my last post). Oh, yeah, and I WAS ADMITTED TO KELLOGG!

So why have I decided to restart this blog now? Well, I think I lost the inspiration to blog through my application experience because I had been here before, last year. But now, with the admit call, my excitement is back. The experience is new again. My ambitious plan is to blog right through until I graduate, both to keep a journal of sorts for myself, but also to share the experience with my family and friends. Of course, any other interested people who care to read about my experiences are more than welcome here.

So welcome back, and stay tuned.