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.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready

So I’m not literally regurgitating my dinner onto my dress shirt, and I haven’t tasted my mom’s spaghetti in years (oh :*)  how I miss my mama’s cookin’..) but I am getting myself slightly worked up about this entire process, and probably needlessly so. I was working on an initial draft of one of the essay prompts at a Barnes & Noble coffeeshop the other day and happened to come across The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. I had heard of the book before but this was the first time I sat to skim through some of its contents. Page after page, section after section, Josh hammered one point over and over: Business school just isn’t worth the money.

This certainly wasn’t reassuring to hear, and I pressed onwards in the opening pages, curious as to what this man had to say: B-School is expensive!! So much that you’ll be mortgaging your entire life paying off your debt!! B-School teaches worthless and outdated concepts and practices!! B-School will not guarantee a high paying job or let alone make you a skilled manager or leader!!

His website goes on to convey he isn’t necessarily advocating against business schools; it is more accurate to say that Kaufman is a real proponent against overwhelming student debt, a common predicament that many business school students face. The crushing weight of a six-figure debt balance can take a significant amount of time to pay off, not to mention the mental toll such a burden could have on an individual.

Skimming the book did very little to sway my take on the value of enrolling in a full-time MBA program. I understand that the work doesn’t end with the completion of the GMAT, or the completion of the application process, or after getting the acceptance offer. To me, a full-time MBA program represents a process to forge amazing friendships, join a thriving and driven network, learn key fundamentals about businesses, lead and learn from fellow peers in exciting projects and campaigns, and be given rare opportunities to travel to emerging markets or listen to CEO talks that would otherwise not be available to me without the resources of a top business school. It’s not strictly about learning the X’s and O’s that The Personal MBA stands to teach the reader. A book cannot substitute in-class discussions and live dialogue. Not all of us possess the genius of a Will Hunting.

What the book did do for me, however, was again put the issue of tuition into perspective. The staggering number of years it would take for me to climb out of debt if a merit scholarship doesn’t fall into my lap. The more clearer choice to make if presented with an offer from a top school for full tuition or a slightly lower ranked school for half.

Do I really want to, as Will Hunting put it, “drop a hundred and fifty grand on a fucking education [I] coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library?”

Well, I seriously considered ending the post right there. But in reality, I wanted to express a few things:

1) Don’t get ahead of myself. The decision has been made, I’m going applying to business school. I can worry and plan my expenses after I’ve done everything in my power to put my best foot forward in the application process.

2) Worrying about tuition or opportunity cost or not getting accepted to a single school will do me no good. None. I’ll allow myself a few momentary lapses to vent my anxiety and question my self-worth, but I will NOT allow myself to linger on these moments. Keep them few and far between. Mom’s spaghetti, for now, stays down.

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