My Q&A with Accepted.com (and letting go of anonymity)

School at Johnson is now in full swing, and I can confirm that what everyone says about bschool is true: There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. I thought I could still maintain some semblance of normalcy once school started, but no. EVERYTHING has changed! I’m sure that’s not true for everyone (especially if you don’t move to attend school or if you’re not doing a career switch), but it certainly is for me. I’ve changed my home, my financial situation (omg, the loans!), my long-term goals and my overall attitude towards work and career. It’s kind of mind-boggling.

And it’s also true that your time as a student generally breaks down into three categories: 1) Classes/studying; 2) Career Prep; and 3) Social life. And it is quite simply impossible to do all three to their fullest. Something has to give. Each person has his/her own priorities, so choose wisely. And, of course, all three are interrelated, so it’s certainly not a good idea to put all your effort towards one.

Anyway, back to the thing that prompted me to write this post: I was recently profiled (for the second time–previous interview here) by Accepted.com. But this time, I did not interview anonymously. Anonymity is much less important to me now that the application process is over. I also believe in everything I wrote on this blog. I may have grayed out/generalized some details about myself just to keep the anonymity going, but that’s pretty much it. 

Before I link to the profile with my real name on it, let me ask you a question: Have you ever fallen in love with a radio host or DJ and thought they were the most charming, funniest and awesome person in the world? And then did you Google them and see their photo and find out what kind of person they actually were? And did you feel the wave of disappointment wash over you afterward?

Now, I’m not saying that any of you out there are fans of me like that (not at all!), but there’s something about anonymity that lets us make up a picture in our minds of another person that’s really…fun! Honestly, I wish I hadn’t taken the time to find out more about some of my favorite radio hosts/bloggers/etc. It was just more fun and satisfying without all the details. But hey, here’s the link to my interview if you still want to know.

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2nd place in Clear Admit’s “Best of Blogging” Competition

BoB-Winner-2014-1OK, this is really delayed, but a BIG thanks to everyone who voted for my blog for Clear Admit’s BoB awards! It was really exciting to receive the news that it placed second after all the votes were tallied. I’ve been overall very un-strategic about this entire blog (I never even installed Google Analytics on it…I’ve just been glancing at the stats that are automatically provided by WordPress…and I never went beyond this plain gray stock template design…the marketer in me shudders with horror), but it’s been really fun swapping stories with all of you over the last several months.

And I guess I am a dirty liar. I was really planning on continuing my posts until fall semester started, but then I had to pack all my stuff into boxes and figure out where I was going to live in Ithaca and apply for pre-MBA camps and do accounting prep work and do mbamath.com and…well, you know where this is going. I’m full of excuses!

I’ve also been doing some more self-reflection. Even though I started this process with my heart wholly set on remaining in the nonprofit sector, I’ve decided to go corporate post bschool (which will not surprise many of you, I’m sure). But I’m hoping that my foray into the corporate world will not be a permanent move. Ideally, I’d like to get the solid corporate experience it seems like I need, then re-enter the nonprofit/public sector at a senior management level further down the line. I have a few reasons for this:

  • As I previously mentioned in a frustrated post, I think there is a clear double standard when it comes to for-profit work and non-profit work, and non-profit work is valued at a much lower level. It’s funny, because when I share this thought with different people, some say “What?? That is NOT true” while others nod and say “Yeah, well, duh.” (The former response usually comes from fellow nonprofit-ers and and the latter from those in the corporate world. Shocker.) Whether that is warranted or not, it’s the framework I’m working in, so I’m going to do what I have to.
  • I have found it near impossible to transition into the corporate world on my own with my 100% nonprofit background, so I’m considering bschool my one and only chance to make the move and get corporate experience.
  • I have never had to really deal with money. There was either a static amount of grant funding or there was…no funding. Working in the corporate world will help me fill my knowledge gap about that.
  • I’m curious. Will for-profit world be that different than what I’m used to? Will everything seem so bottom-line-focused and efficient and fast from my nonprofit perspective? Will working for profit crush my soul, or when it comes down to it, will it seem like any other work day?

All in all, I hope this blog gives hope to folks with a nonprofit background out there who are applying to bschool. My biggest anxiety about the whole process was not knowing what my chances were or how adcom members would view my file. I felt like such a weirdo. But fear not–there are plenty of “weirdos” in bschool! At some schools more than others, of course. If you’re in nonprofit, I encourage you to look for schools that value your perspective instead of trying to fit you into one of their prefabricated boxes. That’s how Johnson felt to me, which is also why it feels like home.

I’ve been nominated for a BoB!

Wow–I am honored to be nominated for Clear Admit’s Best of Blogging 2013-2014! 

I’ve really enjoyed writing here over the past several months, and it’s always wonderful to hear from any of you through comments and emails. I hope my experiences have helped your own journeys. I love how the bschool blogosphere and online community feels small even though people from all over the world are active participants. You can help me turn my nom into the real thing by voting for my blog and two more of your favorites.

BoB Nominee

And a shoutout to all my fellow nominees below! I think you should also vote for hamm0 over at Boots to Suits. Cuz, you know, Johnson ❤ all the way.

Being an introvert and doing bschool

your-personality-type-introvert1

By Abraham Ingle

I’m an introvert. Depending on who you tell this to, some people I know will say, “What?? No you’re not. You talk all the time!” And others will say, “Duh, you’re totally antisocial.”

Setting aside the fact that different people’s definitions of “introvert” and “extrovert” vary a lot, I do test as an introvert. And when I started thinking about going to business school, one of my biggest worries was, “Business school is a place for loud, gregarious, going-to-happy-hour-all-the-time people, and that’s not me. Do I not belong there?” And as much as schools love to talk about how much they embrace diversity, I don’t think they make it a point to include individuals who prefer to stay out of the spotlight in their efforts.

As an introvert, sometimes it feels like what bschools really want are actors and actresses. People who take to the stage, hold the attention of crowds and deliver a message (Steve Jobs’ showmanship probably had a hand in all this, and now everyone listens to TED talks). And yes, getting up in front of people and making them feel what you want them to feel is one kind of leadership, and a really impressive one. But on the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg is no Steve Jobs during his presentations…but do people think he is a poor leader? Well, maybe they do…but can you argue with his results?

Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I’m passive. I can be very assertive–in fact, I think my assertiveness tends to come off extra-pointy due to my overall tendency of talking less than most others. And if there’s anything I dislike the most, it’s inefficiency, especially when it comes to communication. There’s a reason why my friends say I “tell it how it is.”

So although I am fully capable of attending parties and joining everyone at happy hour, they probably aren’t the first thing I’d want to do if I had some spare time. I’d rather listen to my latest audiobook (Do you guys use audible? I first thought audiobooks were for seniors with poor eyesight, but now I can’t live without them. I get through TONS of books during my commutes; it’s awesome) or sit down and plan out what I’m going to accomplish the next day. But I do know that creating a strong network of peers is quite possibly the most valuable thing one can gain out of business school. And I really do enjoy the time I spend in social situations. But the biggest hurdle I have as an introvert, though, is how much social activities drain me energy-wise. At the beginning of a day-long networking conference, I’ll be totally on the ball–making introductions, memorizing names and faces, exchanging info–but by the end of the day, I am 110% spent and want to take an extremely long nap. And a lot of times that leads me to skip out on the concluding reception or happy hour.

So here’s my plan of action: Increase my overall energy level through a combination of coffee, exercise, strategic eating and sleep regulation. I know, it sounds kind of ludicrous. But I’ve actually somewhat deployed this technique already with some success. During a networking lunch awhile ago, I ordered coffee to go with my sandwich while everyone else got soda and iced tea. It was odd enough that one person poked fun at me (“Someone missed their morning coffee today!”), but that didn’t matter–the caffeine definitely perked me up enough to keep me strong throughout the entirety of the lunch.

Now here’s the real challenge: How do I consume enough coffee to keep me alert, but not enough to make me immune to (or dependent on) its effects? 🙂