Watch out, Johnson, here I come! [Johnson 2016]

Johnson-Cornell-Logo_webI’m sure exactly none of you will be surprised to hear that I’ve put my deposit down for Cornell Johnson!

Even though it was painfully obvious from my recent posts that I had fallen hard for Johnson, the decision was not an easy one to make. As I was considering all the pros and cons, I was also reaping the benefits of living close to UCLA and being able to attend every yield event Anderson offered. I had lunch with Dean Rob Weiler and coffee with my first year buddy. I also attended the Anderson Women’s Business Connection conference, a reception for fellowship recipients and Admit Preview Day. I was especially taken with Dean Judy Olian’s comments at the women’s conference. She was very frank about the challenges women face in business and went as far to say that women can have it all–but not at the same time. Basically, she said that a woman can’t be aggressively furthering her career and having kids simultaneously–one or the other has to take priority. She tried to underline this by pointing out that Julia Stewart (the keynote speaker) had her first child at age 42. It was all very intriguing and I admired Dean Olian for speaking a hard truth, even if it was a debatable one.

What I’m trying to say is that my decision was very personal . It was more about cultural fit and long term plans beyond my two years of business school and less about reputation, the quality of career services and trying to determine which school was “better.” I know it gets really old hearing this over and over again throughout the entire bschool application process, but I really tried to determine what was “better” for me than what was objectively “better.” Okay, now the word “better” sounds and looks really weird. I’m going to stop.

I did receive a Forte Fellowship from Johnson, which was FANTASTIC news. I was so excited! I am really looking forward to getting more involved in the Forte Foundation.

I thought applying and waiting for decisions was hard, but now comes the really terrible part: moving. (Moving–how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.) I’ve done it many times throughout my years, including a couple cross-country ones, and no matter how much I try to plan and prepare (and, yes, I do a LOT of planning and preparing), it always ends up being an excruciating process. And this time I’m moving with a car, which I’ve never done before. I’ve got about 3-4 months to prep everything, which sounds like enough time, but also seems like not enough at all. Here’s to hoping for a relatively smooth transition to Ithaca!

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UCLA Anderson admit packet + Ross interview invite

photo (1)I received my admit packet in the mail from UCLA Anderson a couple days ago. I had completely forgotten about the whole snail mail aspect of admissions, and it was surprisingly gratifying to hold something solid in my hands that said “Congratulations!” on it. I love digital, but there’s still a lot to miss about print.

The letter included a short handwritten note from Assistant Dean Alex Lawrence that referenced content in my application essay, which was  a very nice personal touch. And check out that awesome smiley face–I’m a fan of smileys 🙂

I’ve also received congratulatory messages from current students and have been set up with my first year buddy, who I will be speaking with soon. Altogether I’ve been feeling very welcomed and supported by Anderson, which is great. Preview Day for admits is at the end of February, and I will definitely be in attendance.

In other (exciting) news, I received an interview invite from Ross and have already scheduled my off-campus interview with an alum in my city. I’ve heard a bit about the group exercise Ross does for interviews, but since I’ll be doing mine off campus I won’t be participating. It’s going to be a very busy upcoming 3-4 weeks!

I’M DONE WITH APPS! yesssssssssssssss

stick_a_fork_in_heart_im_done_print-rcfce5cff037f4e3ba9cc72b81ec5e9f4_wad_8byvr_512I submitted my Fuqua app last night, which means that I am DONE filling out business school applications and will NEVER EVER FILL OUT ANOTHER ONE AGAIN! Whoooooooooooop! It feels pretty awesome, I must say.

So here’s what I’ve got lined up for the next couple months (I’m laying this out more for my sake than yours):

HAAS:

Berkeley will release final decisions next week (1/15). I wasn’t invited for an interview, so, as I mentioned previously, I’m quite sure this will be a ding. I used to think that I’d be super sad about a ding from Haas, but I’m not feeling it anymore. I think my expectations were pretty off when I began this entire process, so I’ve readjusted.

JOHNSON:

No interview invites have gone out for round 2 yet, but they should start coming very, very soon. After all, decisions are released in about a month (2/5). So if I don’t receive an invite in the next couple weeks, I’d say my chances are very low.

SOM and KELLOGG waitlist statuses:

I’m still figuring out my game plan on how to improve my candidacy at these two schools. Yale gave me their feedback, and their feedback was…that they had no specific feedback. I’m still waiting on feedback from Kellogg. Those sour grapes that I was tasting before? I no longer feel the same way at all. I just want in no matter how it happens, and I wouldn’t feel bad about it one bit!! I need to stew on this a bit more, but I’m aiming to have something put together for both schools by early February. It seems like more people get off the Kellogg waitlist than SOM’s, but SOM still has hold of my heart.

ROSS:

Seems like interview invites for round 2 went out on 1/10 (wow, quick turnaround) and  2/4 last year, so maybe it will repeat this year (?)

FUQUA:

If I don’t receive an interview invite by 2/6, it’ll be a ding for me (I didn’t interview during the open interview period). If I do get an invite, interviews will be held somewhere between 2/10-2/25.

ANDERSON:

Preview Day for admits is on 2/27, and I’ll be there.

Then we get into March, which will be tough. Anderson’s round 1 deposit deadline is on March 12th. On the 13th, Fuqua releases round 2 decisions. On the 14th, Ross releases round 2 decisions. Oh, also, Johnson’s round 2 deposit deadline is March 5th. Everything is crazy up in the air right now, but there seems to be a possibility of losing a deposit, which would suck big time. But I’m guessing that happens way more than people think…

Meanwhile, I’m taking a pre-MBA refresher math class online. Taking the GMAT reminded me how to do long division, but, seriously, I’ve lost all the calculus I ever learned. And I’ve never applied any sophisticated math to business scenarios, so I really need some review. I really don’t want to start business school already behind (I mean, I’ll probably be behind on some level, but I’m going to try to minimize it), so I’m going to try to take as many classes as I can to prepare before fall rolls around.

UCLA Anderson: I’m IN! With MONEY!!

ImageI’m officially going to business school next year!

I wasn’t expecting to get a decision from Anderson until Friday, but I was sent an email around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning telling me that my decision was available online. I didn’t even bother checking my email until the late afternoon on Thursday (I’m already on vacation for the winter holiday), and when I saw the email my heart sank. I thought it was a ding since I had not received a phone call and the tone of the email was really cold and noncommittal.

I ran to my computer and logged in and was soooo relieved when I saw it was an offer letter! After the second waitlist decision I just got from Kellogg, I was really unsure of my MBA future. It was really gratifying to have one solid admit under my belt.

Then I received a second email that informed me that I had been awarded a $40,000 Forte Merit Fellowship. I was STUNNED. 40k is an insanely huge amount of money for me–I felt like I had somehow won the lottery. And as an extra bonus, I really respect the Forte Foundation and believe in its mission. I attended a recent Forte Forum and have been keeping an eye on their activities for awhile. I had already decided in my mind that I would become more involved in the organization and contribute in whatever way I can, so being a Forte Fellow would just be perfect.

Getting a 40k scholarship is a huge boon, but I’m a woman who likes options, so I’m not making any decisions or stopping my efforts yet. But–I did decide to no longer apply to USC. Even if USC somehow offered me a full ride or something crazy like that, I wouldn’t choose Marshall over Anderson. So I still have to wait to hear from Cornell (early February) and UMich and Duke (mid-March). I have a really busy upcoming two weeks before round 2 deadlines, so you probably won’t be hearing again from me until 2014.

Have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year, everyone!

UCLA Anderson Interview Recap

I recently interviewed on campus at UCLA Anderson with a friendly second year student. We used an empty conference room in the admissions office. The interview was quick (about 30 minutes), congenial and to-the-point, which I could appreciate. Some of the questions I received were:

  • Why do you want an MBA and why now?
  • Why Anderson?
  • What is a significant leadership experience you’ve had?
  • What is a past failure you’ve experienced?
  • What clubs are you interested in at Anderson?
  • What is a past conflict you’ve had with a supervisor, and how did you solve it?

Once again, nothing unexpected. We talked for about 20 minutes before it came time for me to ask questions. I asked what he thought of the quarter system at Anderson, and he surprised me by saying that he doesn’t even notice it and hadn’t ever really thought about it. Following an academic quarter system sounds potentially challenging to me, but maybe it’s just because I’ve never followed one before (and having more midterms and finals doesn’t sound too fun). His reasoning was that business school is always crazy busy no matter what, so the quarter system doesn’t really stand out. On the flipside, for me, it’s a great opportunity to try out even more classes and explore other areas of business. I didn’t take any business-related courses in high school or college (no economics, statistics, etc.; nada), so I’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

We also talked a bit about tracks and specializations at Anderson. I got the impression from their website that tracks and specializations were something like the core foundation of their curriculum, but my interviewer was relatively adamant about playing that aspect of Anderson down. He basically said the tracks/specializations don’t mean anything. When I expressed my surprise, he further clarified that pursuing a track or specialization was completely optional. Students can take whatever courses they’d like from any area, and you do not need to complete any track or specialization to graduate. That was definitely news to me, and I thought that was pretty interesting. I like how Anderson’s curriculum is set up because it would allow me to complete a traditional (read: corporate) marketing track while also completing the Leaders in Sustainability specialization, which would give me the chance to take nonprofit management courses and other classes at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and such. But it’s good to know that you don’t have to necessarily be locked into a single path.

Altogether, it was a positive experience. I didn’t walk away from this interview (or Kellogg’s) with a slam-dunk feeling or anything like that, but I thought both were pleasant and I got to know much more about the schools than I did before.

Life back to normal (kind of)

ImageThis entire business school application process–studying for/taking the GMAT, choosing schools to apply to, completing applications–has basically taken over my life for the past six months, and I have been unable to do anything else. I’ve neglected dirty dishes, laundry grew in piles and the floors went way too long between vacuuming sessions. But now that all my round 1 apps have been submitted, life has been (somewhat) returning to normal! I’m finally able to empty the dishwasher, catch up on my volunteer work and have some fun. I’m bringing the car in for an overdue repair this weekend along with checking out a couple movies at the AFI Film Festival. And unlike many of my fellow applicants, it seems, I’m not feeling stressed about my already-submitted apps. I was super stressed out before I got my Yale SOM interview invite, but now that I know I have *some* chance of attending business school next year, I’ve completely relaxed. It’s actually tempting to just put the entire thing out of my head…I have to remind myself that I still need to do work, like prepare for my interviews (and, oh yeah, I still have two more apps to go!).

No word from Stanford or Berkeley re: interviews yet. I’ll definitely be disappointed if I don’t get an invite from Berkeley. Of all the applications I completed, I thought the way Berkeley’s essays were structured and the ample opportunities they gave to share additional info really provided the most comprehensive view of me as an applicant. So if I don’t hear from them, I can’t blame an annoying application structure for it! I guess I’d take it a bit personally if I don’t get an interview invite. Haas’ four defining principles really speak to me, too, and I think the school could be a fantastic fit for me. And I’ve always had a thing for Berkeley. I almost decided to attend Berkeley for undergrad, but decided to go with a traditional Ivy instead. I don’t regret making that decision, but I still love Berkeley.

Next week I’ll have my Kellogg interview first followed by Anderson. My interview with Yale should be done the week after. I’m generally excited to put a face on this whole process–everything has felt pretty cold and impersonal so far, so it will be satisfying to interact with someone directly!

Profiled by accepted.com/Kellogg+Anderson Interview invites

accepted.comI was so happy to be profiled by Sarah at accepted.com blog last week! I had a great time answering her questions. The most personally helpful thing I get out of blogging is that it prompts me to do a huge amount of self-reflection, and that really helps me solidify my story and reaffirms why I decided to get my MBA in the first place. Check out my full interview here. Thanks, Sarah!

On the application front, I’ve received interview invites from Kellogg and Anderson and have scheduled both for the next few upcoming weeks (yay!). I know that Stanford just began sending out invites today and Berkeley will start sending theirs out on Friday. GSB and Haas are the most competitive schools I’ve applied to, so I’m excited to see what they think of me! Unless they don’t think much. Then I’ll be sad 😦 But, really, I am very curious to see if I get interview invites from either of those schools.

I have been crazy busy with other projects lately and have seriously been neglecting this whole bschool process. I haven’t even begun looking into sample interview questions or things like what to wear and stuff. I’ve got a lot of preparation ahead of me!