A trip to the Greater Chicago Area

Quick update on things!

First things first, I received an invitation to interview at Yale SOM!!!

To say that I had lost hope would be putting things lightly. I read waves of posts on GMATClub.com’s forums of fellow applicants receiving the good news and being invited to interview at New Haven. Sure, I was very happy for them – but seeing my empty inbox with each passing week  made me want to curl up into a ball or kick a pebble down the street muttering, “Phooey.” I don’t know what it is about Yale SOM that resonated so much with me, but I do know that it sits within my top 2 choices (SOM & Kellogg). My interview is scheduled around the end of this month. One thing I know for certain is that should the interviewer ask, “Why SOM?”, I will probably have to be cut off before I answer the next question because I’ll just keep spewing out words. So anyways, hurray! So close, yet so far!

The e-mail invite came when I was least expecting it. The wheels to the airplane I was on had just touched down in O’Hare and I had just turned on my phone. It definitely amused me to have received the news when all I had been doing for the last several hours is mentally prep myself and focus in on a completely different school: Northwestern Kellogg School of Management!

Thoughts on Chicago:

I stayed with a friend in the Gold Coast area so I didn’t necessarily explore all of Chicago. The air was frigid and strikingly cold (as expected). This area of Chicago, well, felt classy. It felt like walking down Park Ave. in Manhattan only the streets were wider, the ambiance was quieter, the people less diverse, and the occasional stranger more friendly. (Case in point: I was on one of the public buses when I stood up and began peering straight ahead through the windshield, combing for a street sign. That’s when I heard a voice chime in next to me and a friendly, middle-aged woman began asking me if I knew where to get off. It was a pleasant conversation). The buildings, dare I say, felt just as grand than New York City. I figure it is due to the wider streets where one can take in a much more sweeping, panoramic view of multiple skyscrapers and impressive architecture in one fell swoop. (In Manhattan, everything is a lot more cramped so you’re typically limited to one spectacle at a time.) Chicago is the third-most populous city in the United States, and it definitely has its gamut of quality restaurants, bars, sights, schools, and people. Tip: don’t pay to go up to the John Hancock Observatory. Go to the Signature Lounge – it has just as an impressive of a view and your money can go towards cocktails.

Thoughts on Evanston:

I took the subway train up to Evanston from Chicago and it took just under an hour. Evanston was a bit further from Chicago than I had expected, but I’m pretty sure I took the slowest transportation option available. Not sure how quick the commute is via taxicab. (When we asked Kellogg students how often they would visit Chicago, most said about once every 7-10 days.)

I didn’t explore too much of the Evanston area, so I can’t really accurately comment on the Evanston area, but the Northwestern campus certainly was scenic.

Thoughts on Kellogg:

The tour was a bit underwhelming. If I recall correctly, we started in the admissions office waiting area, walked through one hallway, awkwardly stood at the entrance to a classroom where hordes of students were trying to cut through us to enter class, moved towards another entrance of the building, stood around chatting, and then entered into a classroom to chat some more before returning back to the waiting area.

The tour guide however, was very informative. He really knew the school inside and out and provided some interesting insights.

The interview itself was conducted by a member of the admissions staff. She was very cordial and though it felt conversational, I did feel as if I may have droned on a bit. She had time for maybe five questions before our time was up and she opened up the floor for any questions that I had. None of her questions were out of left field and she was very friendly throughout. (Note: before the interview, you have to sign-in with the Admissions office; they will hand you a form that will also ask you to fill out your short and long term goals! so don’t leave this until the last minute!)

I also met with a friend of mine who is a current student at Kellogg; surprisingly, we had to walk around for a good 5 minutes in two different areas (the central cafeteria as well as throughout one of the study rooms) to find just a seat for us to chat before my interview! That’s when you know that Northwestern, like Yale, is probably in dire need of an upgrade in its business school building.

Looking Ahead:

Top business schools certainly have a few distinctive qualities and characteristics that separate them, but you’re going to find largely the same strengths at many of the schools. You will find passionate students, you will face and learn from a strong foundation in business fundamentals, you will have accessible faculty, and you will be encompassed in a team-based collaborative culture to varying degrees. These tours/visits are starting to blur together and I can only hope to hear great news from Yale 1 month from now and take a break from this near year-long journey! If I get admitted, I really believe it’ll go down as one of the happiest days of my life.

I have my Cornell Johnson essays to finish and Yale interview to prep for by the end of the month. December will largely be spent on my Kellogg essays, followed by squeezing in my essays for NYU Stern (if needed). Almost there.

2 Responses to A trip to the Greater Chicago Area

  1. mbaover30 says:

    Congrats on your Yale SOM interview. One step closer. Best of luck on your Kellogg app as well.

  2. Massive congrats on your Yale interview! All of those essays must feel like a full time job!

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