Friday, April 25, 2014

I was going to choose HBS

I've been keeping a secret for the past few days/weeks. I think HBS is an amazing program, and I was pretty sure that's where I would be matriculating. I actually bought a HBS sweatshirt a couple of days ago. I was just waiting to hear about financial aid from Stanford so that I could have some closure when making the final decision.

Well, just when I finally stopped being stressed by the decision-making process, I got my fellowship offer from the GSB today, and holy crap it is generous!!

So now, my decision is due in less than a week, and I kind of feel like I'm back to square one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quitting My Job

I'm not planning to quit my job until late July or maybe even early August. I actually really like what I do. I work for a great company, I like my co-workers, and I'm in a position that I think I'm good at, while still having the opportunity to feel challenged. Plus, the next two years are going to be freakishly expensive, and I'd prefer to save as much money as I can now, so that I can go on lots of cool trips later.

However, I've recently chatted with several other soon-to-be MBA students, and EVERYONE is quitting way earlier than me. And now, I suddenly feel like I'm already missing out. Things like Yacht Week in Croatia sound amazing! And I'd love to spend the summer relaxing before school starts, traveling around the world, and meeting my new future classmates in exciting locales.

FOMO has officially set in.

Monday, April 21, 2014

HBS Admitted Students Welcome

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I had the opportunity to meet my potential future classmates at HBS. The event was only about a day and a half, but it was jam-packed with activities -- from housing tours, to financial aid sessions, to mock classes, to evening "networking" events, it was a very busy time. I was incredibly exhausted by Saturday morning, but I was also energized as I contemplated the fact that I could actually be attending this amazing program! I am truly awed and humbled that I have this opportunity.

Everyone I met was incredibly down to earth, friendly, diverse, and well accomplished. I, of course, met several consultants and bankers, but I also met a ton of people working in start-ups, entrepreneurs, joint degree candidates, and even social enterprise folks.

In our mock class, we discussed a case about the Chilean miners who were stranded in the collapsed mine. The key takeaways from the case were interestingly about leadership and structures within society. When all normal aspects of human life were removed, a group of 33 men, who were isolated 700 meters underground, still managed to create a system of government. This ultimately enabled  them to survive against all odds. The case method is a very unique and special process, but I think it could allow for some pretty interesting and amazing class discussions.

Anyway, if my two-day visit at HBS is any indication of what the next two years might be like, then things could be pretty amazing!

I'll be traveling to the Bay Area next week, and will be making my final decision shortly thereafter. The deposit deadline is May 1st for both schools. Things are getting real. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HBS Round 3 Interview Invites

HBS will be notifying all round 3 candidates tomorrow of whether they are being released or if they will receive the golden ticket, also known as an interview invite. I have a few friends who applied in round 3, and I'm so nervous and excited for you all.

Since I technically applied in round 1, but was put on "further consideration" until round 2, I went through the stress of HBS' interview invite day 3 times! Waiting for the clock to strike noon was pretty painful. I must have looked at the clock at least once every 10 minutes starting from 8am. But in the end, it was all worth it, so I really can't complain.

Good luck to you all, and try to get some sleep tonight!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stanford Bonding

I recently attended an admitted students' reception for the GSB. Head of admissions, Derrick Bolton, was there, and he personally greeted every single student. Plus, he remembered the industries that each of us were in, and then tried to connect people with similar backgrounds or interests. Since there were quite a few of us, I was incredibly impressed by this personal touch.

I've heard a lot about the close-knit GSB community, but since being admitted, I have been able to see first-hand how they put their words into action. From Derrick's marathon day of calls on the decision date, to having a handwritten note included with my admit letter, to having him remember my background and current company, I have been blown away! The application process was super stressful for me, so it feels really good to be wanted. Stanford and Tuck have been the two schools that have made me feel the most special, like they truly care about me as an individual. I can only imagine the connections I would be able to form as a student at the GSB.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

To go or not to go with the rankings

When I first began this journey, I thought the post-admit decision-making process would be incredibly easy. It seemed so simple to just go to the highest-ranked school to which you were admitted. Now remember, this was also before I really understood the mysterious concept of "fit."

So anyway, now that I'm on the other side, it finally makes sense why someone admitted to both Yale and Wharton, for example, would question which school to attend. The obvious rankings answer is Wharton. But the personalities and opportunities at the programs are quite different. Yale is a place where everybody knows your name. At Wharton, there's the risk of getting lost in the crowd.

I've seen a surprising number of people get into the position of wanting to choose a school that is perhaps not ranked as highly as another, but they feel compelled to still stick with the rankings. I'm by no means an expert, but I think that the most important thing is to go to the place where you'll be happiest. The school listed on your resume is just the first step to getting your ideal internship/full-time offer. After that, it's all on you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Yale SOM Decision Day

Congrats to everyone admitted to Yale today!

SOM was the first school that I was accepted to back in December. Even though I ultimately decided not to matriculate, I'll always have a special affection for the program. The joy I experienced upon receiving that first phone call can never be replaced. I think everyone who has gone through this crazy application process can probably relate to the unbridled happiness of the first admit.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Harvard Debt

I recently received my financial aid offer from HBS, and I feel pretty okay about it. It's obviously not a full scholarship, so I will still be taking on a massive amount of debt, but I think the offer is relatively generous. As I previously mentioned, HBS only offers need-based aid, and the offer was based on my tax info from the past three years.

Anyway, in the course of researching everything I can about paying off this debt, I stumbled upon an interesting blog where an HBS grad attempted (and succeeded) in paying off $90K in loans in less than a year. He increased his income by taking on a part-time job and seriously cut costs. While I highly doubt that I'll be able to pay off my loans as quickly (that guy was pretty extreme), it's refreshing to see that it's possible to not be crushed under student loan debt for the next ten years.

Hopefully, I'll hear from the GSB soon about my financial aid package. I don't feel comfortable making a decision to choose one school or the other without knowing all of the facts.