“No, I want to hire the Sopranos to beat the sh!t out of him with a hammer.”

Impressed.

That’s how I felt walking away from Northwestern Kellogg’s information session. Held on the 41st floor of the Alliance Bernstein building in New York City, the room held a massive, sweeping view of Central Park. But I didn’t arrive to soak in the view. I naturally gravitated towards the drinks table, helping myself to a Poland Spring after picking up one of Kellogg’s information packets (which, by the way, were of impressive build/quality. Even the little touches count.)

Within the first minute I saw a familiar face from the an earlier information session I attended this summer. Ah, the effects of networking.. turns out it is fairly useful. Not something I’m used to having spent the last few years glued to a desk doing IT work. We immediately exchanged smiles and caught up on how each of us were doing and handling the b-school admissions process. Interestingly, I came to learn that we have quite a good deal in common, both in terms of background, age, and target schools. Still, though he technically was what you would consider my “competition”, my mind didn’t even remotely cross the idea – his friendly demeanor was welcome in my book and it just felt great to bounce off some frustrations with someone you know who is going through a similar process, another fellow MBA hopeful going through the rounds. I’m also thrilled I haven’t run into as many folks whose noses were held up so high you’d think they were nursing a nosebleed. Again, small sample sizes… but who’s counting?

Kellogg brought out a slew of alumni in impressive fashion, prominently placing 5 of their 7 alums on stage to answer a variety of questions and offer their highly insightful impressions and feedback on their MBA experiences. This was an excellent decision to frame the info-session in this manner as it allowed for any one of them to chime in with their input throughout what would otherwise likely have been a standard, fairly monotonous PowerPoint presentation by an associate admissions director. The alums were quite diverse as well: a finance-to-brand-manager career changer, graduates of the JD-MBA and MMM programs, as well as a marketing strategist from Verizon Wireless. But also representing the recent alumni group was Divya Narendra (who arrived more than fashionably late in a pair of sneaks).

As a huge fan of The Social Network and a tech-news aficionado, I instantly recognized his name on the big screen when they flashed the list of present alumni. He hadn’t arrived by then and so after all of the alums introduced themselves, I slid back from the edge of my seat a bit, conceding he wasn’t coming after all. But he ended up dashing towards the front a few slides later.

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not knowing when to quit

Expressionless, I comb through my entire undergraduate transcript, slowly shaking my head as I enter the numbers into my spreadsheet and crunch the numbers. No if’s, and’s, or but’s: my final calculated undergraduate GPA indeed matches the official GPA listed on my transcript to the hundredths digit. And oh what an unsightly GPA it is. If (and I do realize I just said “no if’s”) the hundredths digit had somehow clawed its way up to a 5, I’d be rounding up to a 3.0!

I laugh and shake my head again. Wow… desiring a 3.0?

Well, it’s true. I’m in a dangerously unrecoverable realm known as the 2.X region that threatens to overshadow any other feat I can muster in front of the admissions committee. What’s worse (or quite fortunate depending on your perspective) is how I did not face any significant obstacle, personal tragedy, dire financial circumstances, or any other spectacular circumstances to justify my spectacularly unspectacular undergraduate performance.

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