The Information Social

I attended my first business school info session this week for the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. I walked away with mixed feelings, though not necessarily about Fuqua, but more reflective of myself and my upcoming decision to go to business school.

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there’s vomit on his sweater already

If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it? Or just let it slip?

Yes. Yes, I did. I quoted Eminem. I took the opening lines of a song deemed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and very likely to hover in the Top 3 Karoake-Rap-Songs-That-Everyone-Mouthes-The-Words-To.

It’s mainstream.
It’s cliched.
It matches exactly how I’ve been feeling these days.

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And we’re off!

NYU (Stern) released their 2013 Full-Time MBA essay questions last week. Here we go! Here they are in a nutshell:

Professional Aspirations

  • why MBA now?
  • why Stern and what have you done to decide on Stern?
  • what are your post-MBA goals?

Your Two Paths

  • describe 2 distinct paths your career could take
  • how do they tie into Stern’s mission?
  • what factors will determine which path you take?

Personal Expression

  • describe yourself and be creative

Additional Information (not an optional essay for me)

  • explain why your undergraduate GPA royally sucked

What I had been yearning for weeks has now grabbed ahold of my nerves ever so slightly as I begin to feel the rush of excitement of what lies ahead and the mounting pressure of delivering a series of knockout essays that will allow me to grab ahold of my dream.

I need clarity (specifically isolating my MBA goals to the TEE) and sharp focus (right after the 2012 NBA Finals are over). With these upcoming essays, a summer statistics class in full swing, a full-time job that calls for occasional weekend work, a mentorship program beginning in the fall, and a bachelor trip to plan for as the best man to my closest high school friend, I think I’m in good position to ask, “Who really needs sleep anyway?”

Wrong! I never sacrifice on quality sleep unless absolutely necessary. Sacrificing time when my body and mind can rest and recover is a reflection of poor planning and time-management. I’m not 22 years young anymore, and I certainly won’t be helping myself by attempting to run on fumes at work or working on essays with a half-rested brain.

Organizational skills are something I pride myself on; with my schedule growing tighter in the forthcoming months, I’ll just have to plan more wisely and creatively.

Knitting & Politics

My summer grad-level course in data analytics & reporting is well under way, but after this week’s session, it is growing more clear to me that the course (at least for now) won’t be demanding an excessive amount of my time. The class, taking place in a computer lab, includes a few individuals that struggled mightily with a standard pivot table and VLOOKUP formulas. I suppose such expectations are to no surprise with a class demographic that ranged from what looked like someone who could still be a freshman in college to a woman knitting in the back row. Seriously.. she was knitting a quilt in class.

My plan is to ace this class with a big fat red ‘A’ to help demonstrate to the admissions committees that not only am I able to handle grad-level quantitative coursework, but that I am wholeheartedly committed to this process and recognize one of my weaknesses (a low UGPA). It also demonstrates a personal interest of mine in the marketing industry, that of which I have little to no professional working experience in.

With no re-take of the GMAT in sight, I still find myself with at least a few free hours a week on top of the full-time job and the minimal homework from this course. It’s during these moments where I wish that the business schools would publish their essay questions so that I can get the creative juices flowing and begin writing and brainstorming freely. But in reality, waiting for the questions to be released is just a convenient excuse; there really is nothing stopping me from tackling the inevitable introspective questions such as the “why an MBA now?”, “what are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals?” and prepping for the career progression story that is likely to come up in an interview. (Woops! Interviews? I’m getting ahead of myself…)

One question that I admit to want to encounter is the, “Describe a conflict or problem you have faced in the workplace, and describe what steps you took to resolve it.” Reason being (unfortunately) is that I am currently involved in a rare care of office politics at the moment… but what’s already markedly different from my behavior today as opposed to my behavior a year ago is that I am approaching this situation from the perspective of a leader. Have I considered all of the conflicted parties’ perspectivesPerhaps the best solution isn’t necessarily the shortest path from A to B but the longer route requiring a higher level of patienceHow do I optimally balance work efficiency with team morale? In short, I’ve identified a pretty gaping hole in the efficiency of my team’s structure, but the changes that I am proposing may step on an important person’s toes. It’s not a situation I am familiar with but hope to be able to handle professionally and logically.

A short conversation with a current MBA student.

This past weekend I spoke with a friend currently attending Booth business school and shared my upcoming plans to apply for the Fall 2013 applications. When he asked me which schools I was eyeing, I told him that my dream school is Kellogg and that I also plan to apply to Yale, Stern, Darden, and Duke. I had originally included Columbia in that list, another dream school, but that I had recently crossed it off my list (a list that is, far from finalized) as I felt that 6 applications may not only be too much, but that Columbia may prove to be too much of a reach for my profile.

“So yeah, as nice as it would be to include two M7 schools on my list, I think I may stick with just Northwestern,” I said.
He let out a laugh. “No one uses that term. M7.”
This was news to my ears. Maybe nobody in Chicago uses the term? Else, why is it floating around so many business school forums? Hmm, something to keep in mind the next time I’m engaged in a verbal discussion about business schools.

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