Tuesday, November 30, 2004

HBS Teasing

As many of the other bloggers do, I have an SMS alert set so that any e-mail received from hbs.edu will message me right away on my cell phone. This morning I got an SMS saying that I had mail from HBS. My heart was pounding as I checked my inbox, hoping it was an invitation to interview.


It was an invitation to a web enhanced conference call for round 1 applicants. I enrolled for the conference call, because I am interested to hear what they have to say. I'm somewhat surprised about this e-mail because I didn't expect to hear anything beyond interview / no interview or accepted / dinged at this point. I highly doubt this conference call portends anything significant other than an update on the process.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Laying low

I've been torturing myself and spending time on the BusinessWeek forums. During my self flagellation I saw that the HBS round 1 invitations have started going out. A lot of people have started to make panicky posts, wondering if they will or won't get in. After reading through a lot of old posts though, it's pretty clear that HBS continues to issue invites right up to the round 1 deadline of January 19th. In fact there are some posts about people that got their invitation just after the deadline and were admitted several weeks later. It seems that if HBS isn't interested you will get a ding on January 19th. No ding is good news I suppose. At this point, I've done all I can do, I put every ounce of energy into my application, so I'm not holding my breath to get an invite immediately.

Maybe my perspective is somewhat different than some other people though. Even if I don't get into one of my top choices this year (Harvard, Wharton, Stanford), I won't be crushed. I will continue to work on my plan which involves several business ideas that I currently have. I think getting into these schools does involve a bit of luck, and if you don't get in this year, you can always apply again. It doesn't mean you aren't good enough. I don't think you should let any person or entity decide how much self esteem you'll have. Of course we'll see if I'm singing this same tune if I get dinged. :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Get out and vote

I voted earlier today, and wow the turnout was big. It took me an hour to wait through the line just to get to the poll. I highly encourage everyone to get out and make your voice count in this election.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Ready to head back to work

After spending nearly two weeks on vacation in the last six weeks, I am ready to go back to work. Taking time off is all well and good, but it gets old very fast when you aren't doing something productive. This vacation was quite a bit different too because we were watching a one year old the entire time. It's very difficult to go and do anything exiting when you have to stick to a very strict schedule for a child. Secondarily not being in our own house compounded the problem. While the house we are staying in is very nice, there is a certain unfamiliarity when staying in someone else's house.

My aunt just called, they are at the airport now and are collecting their luggage to head home. We are headed home tomorrow night. It's surprised both my wife and I at how ready we are to go home and get back to our lives.

I've been hearing news of interview invites for Cornell and Wharton. Congratulations to all those that have received invites, I hope the interviews go well.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

What curse?

For the first time in 86 years, the Red Socks have won the world seriers. They've finally broken the curse of the bambino. Congratulations to all Sox fans.

My wife and I are out in Seattle watching my aunt's son. She was headed down to Mexico for her birthday and she couldn't find anyone she trusted to watch him for the week, so she imported my wife and I. It works out well because she gets a great baby sitter (my wife), and we get a free vacation out of the deal.

I spent a good deal of last night talking with her husband about his business. He is an entrepreneur and runs the largest property management company in Washington state. I always find it interesting to get the perspective of entrepreneurs on an MBA. My aunt seemed a little down on the prospect, using her husband as an example of someone who was successful without one. He of course wondered how many less mistakes he would have made if him or one of his partners had an MBA.

He also told me that the number one problem for all small businesses is capital. With a name brand MBA, he said I would have better luck raising capital and a have strong network to utilize. Not to mention the business education to build a properly functioning organization. In short he was in favor of an MBA from a top institution, but thought that if I didn't get a name brand MBA, the opportunity cost was too high.

I've been having the same thoughts, realizing that getting an MBA commits me to approximately a six year course of time. One year until the program starts, two years in school, three years paying off the loans. Of course, based on the BW payment calculator, it takes an average of 3.2 years to pay off the student loan and recover the foregone income. Choosing a field like investment banking or management consulting should reduce that timeframe some. At that point though I should have some significant seed capital to start a business and have a good network to draw upon. Once again, I've had the value of an MBA confirmed to me through talking with someone that has gone down the career path I wish to follow. That has to be a good sign.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Bumping Stanford to Round 2

I have mentioned that I've been having difficulty with my Stanford essays. Doing an assessment of my progress today, I made the decision to bump the application to the next round. I have been very aggravated with my lack of progress on these essays. I was somewhat surprised because the Harvard essays came relatively quickly and easily to me. The universal advice though seems to be don't rush your applications to hit a specific round. Since I am only applying to two more schools this year, I am going to push both of them to the next round. Of course the key issue will be to make sure I keep my motivation up and really push to get these essays done long before the round 2 deadlines.

I've also been somewhat concerned how light the extra curriculars look on application. I have several ideas that I have been mulling around for a while now. By giving myself some extra time, I am going to get some of them rolling, and if nothing else I'll have a few more non-work related stories to tell.

I'm sort of bummed out that I need to bump it to round 2, but that puts Stanford in good company with Wharton. Ultimately, I think getting the application done right trumps getting it done soon. Let's hope this strategy pays off in the long run.

Now that I have a little more spare time, I will finish my writeup of the school visits last month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sox win the ALCS!

Congratulations to all the Red Socks fans on winning the 2004 ALCS!

I have been struggling through the Stanford essays. I am having a hard time really getting something solid down though. I spent so long on my Harvard essays coming up with short, powerful sentences, now I am up against an entirely different type of essay with Stanford. 3 to 7 pages sounds like a lot, but when you double space the text it really isn't that much room. On the other hand, because the essays are vague, it makes it interesting to provide a full picture of your candidacy.

The career essay that I have is pretty dry so far. I think I really need to go back and make it more interesting. On the what matters most and why essay, I have been struggling with my approach. I did get some good advice though on how to progress through that particular issue, so I'll post an update on how well I do with that one.

I have been settling more into the decision not to apply to any safety schools this year. There are three schools that at this point I feel very strongly about: Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford. If I get in at any of the three, I would attend. I'm not sure I could say the same about my backup choices. If I apply to a backup school, but in the back of my mind I am thinking maybe I can get in at one of my top choices next year, I probably wouldn't attend the backup choice school. So in order to save time, money, and energy, I am only planning to apply to my top three. It's very possible that I will change my mind come december though if I don't hear anything from Harvard or Stanford.