Chicago, Day 6

So this whole week I’ve been studying accounting. I’d never taken it before, so it is [as a side note, I just cracked open a beer and it is literally the coldest beer I’ve ever had] a completely new subject for me. Tomorrow is the final, which, I’m actually kind of looking forward to I think. Today someone told me that I could have taken all the classes pass/fail, and for a second I thought about it, but then I’m like, dude, that’s lame. 1) If I can’t even get an A/B in a one-week accounting course, I have no right applying to Stanford. So, I’m content in my decision :)

Yesterday was a super awesome day. Wednesday’s are our Company Visit days, so we started out the morning at DraftFCB. It is a marketing agency, so I was semi-interested in it, but basically assumed it wasn’t my cup of tea. The first speaker they brought in though: the director of customer intelligence. It is a department dedicated to analyzing data about customers. It was cooler than just statistics though, because they understand the importance of creativity. The way they explained it was Albert Einstein &  Pablo Picasso’s love child (smart art). It was everything I ever wanted to see in a presentation and more. When they brought up the OkCupid data I giggled in my seat. Not only is that awesome because I love OKC (where I met Joe!), but also because their analytics are fantastic. Let’s just say, I was definitely engaged.

Lunch was awesome. We ate at Quartino’s and it was great. Salad, calamari, bread, then the really good pasta, followed by a chocolate fondue. I nearly crapped myself it was that awesome. Then, when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, they served us coffee, to which I added chocolate. I’m so serious. Life for me is just that good.

Next, we went to Grubhub. For those of you who haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t!) it is this awesome fantastic start up in Chicago, that started actually about 8 years ago. It was founded by a Booth alum, so it worked out perfectly for them to take us there. It was just like “bam, here is a future mark zuckerberg, sit in the front row and between ogling his cuteness, ask all the questions you want about starting a company.” Saying I was in heaven would be an understatement.

He and the panel of Booth alum gave so many great insights into Business School. Things that I think I already knew, but were great to have reaffirmed.

  1. Go for the education, but also for the network. What do I want to do afterwards? Go some place that will introduce me to those networks.
  2. Know what I want to do going into it. While I could figure it out during school (they usually have great career centers) it is best to go in with a goal.
  3. Everyone at school comes from different backgrounds and earned the opportunity to be there. Gather all I can from those interactions and relationships.
  4. Work experience is necessary, but there is no formula for when is right for me. If I have the excitement and passion for it now, capitalize on that.

Overall, the day was full of thoughts and emotions. I considered what would happen were I to wait an additional year to apply. Would I be a better candidate? Would I still have the drive to go? Would my interests change? How will I change?

One of my best friends from college is studying for the GMAT right now. He got into Stanford Law School but is considering going for a JD/MBA degree. I pretty much know that he and I will take over the world some day, so it makes sense to be there when he will be there so while we won’t necessarily be group partners, we will hang out and party together a lot.

Well, to bed I go. I must wake up early to get my donuts.

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Chicago: Day 1

I made it to Chicago! It was so beautiful rolling in, and I had a pretty nice cab driver. He listened to baseball the whole car ride so I felt right at home. He also explained to me that State St. is “zero” as far as addresses go, which has already come in handy more than once. I got checked in just in time to make it over to lunch and orientation. After I started meeting everyone, I got a little more nervous. I fricken suck with names. However, I have… 2 of my 3 roommates names down so far.. But maybe thats just because they both start with a “k”. The buildings are all really nice, which I found surprising. I love the location, just a block off of the Magnificent Mile. This could get dangerous if I’m not careful…

During the orientation, the program directors stressed many rules of conduct. I got the sense that they have had some bad experiences in the past, which is too bad. They stated, multiple times, the importance of being on time, being respectful to presenters (eye contact, paying attention and being engaged), and conducting ourselves in a professional manner. It has been a while since I have been treated like a student and it really made me question what they have experienced. One story I pulled was that after a company visit, a student followed an employee out to their car to press for a job or something. No crap you don’t stalk a potential employer!

However, a girl in my program was nice enough to point out that things are just different in different countries, and what I might take for the norm here is completely new to someone else. Point taken Kate, remember to keep an open mind!

Dinner was at Carmine’s and it was amazing. It was like a 16 course meal, complete with calamari and bruschetta, anti-pasta, salmon, chicken, broccoli, and 3 types of dessert. The salmon was the best I ever had. I really should have taken pictures… I’ll have to remember that more. I also liked how slow the service was (only due to the fact that we were a party of 50!!) because it really gave me the opportunity to enjoy each course. Definitely a place I would recommend!

Once I got home I felt über tired. I was all like “awww, I miss Joe so much!” and I really just wanted to talk to him and then go to bed. But, then I realized I need not be a lame face in Chicago, on my first Saturday in town. Hence, I went out with my 3 roommates to scope out the area. We ended up grabbing a drink at TWELVEWEST. It was a rando place we stumbled upon but it ended up being perfect. The mood was great for 4 girls just getting to know each other, and there was live music in the background (playing fun cover music!). I got my $4 bottle of 312 and thoroughly enjoyed talking business school with people who are in the exact same boat (even if one suggested I retake the GMAT).

Writing a book

So last night I had a dream about how bad my GMAT scores were and that I should probably retake them. This morning, I woke up with even more anxiety about getting into Business school, where I want to go, how to get in, etc. At work, I Google “How to get accepted to Stanford” and was directed to this blog: How to get accepted at Stanford or Harvard or how to get a job at Google or Facebook. It was almost like this blog was written for me, because obviously I’m the only cool kid with dreams of going to Stanford and being CEO of Google.

In the blog, it suggests doing something to stand out. One of the examples? Writing a blog. What’s bigger and better than writing a blog and something I’ve always wanted to do? Writing a book. So, I’ve decided that I am going to write a book. Before September specifically, because, well, applications are due in October.

For starters, I’m going to ask my friend Mollie to be my editor/guide/supporter. She is great at those things. I eluded to asking for a favor of some sorts on her Facebook wall, along with this link: Facebook Murals. If the idea of owning Kate stock sometime in the future doesn’t appeal to her, I don’t know what will. (And by Kate stock I mean a certain % of all book sales of course).

UPDATE: There is then of course stuff like this. People are awesome and inspiring and I love it.

Texts from last night

So, one thing is clear from this past week. Sometimes I can be a negative Nancy by only focusing on the bad things. For example: I did pretty well on the GMAT, well above the “retake if below X” score I set for myself. I was also accepted to the Summer Booth Scholars Program that I had been really hoping for. Both of these are totally awesome things and I should be excited. I am excited.

However, the fact that I didn’t win the Mega Millions and I lost a bake-off at work are both over powering my mood, which should be happy considering everything! As for the bake-off, let me get something clear here. I wasn’t necessarily upset about not winning.. the cookies that won were really good. What upset me more was the aftermath/prize. It was a competition between all of the people in my program at work. The winner got to chose the presentation schedule for our end-of-rotation presentations in two weeks. I really really wanted to go first, or as close to it as possible. I get nervous sitting there thinking about my presentation for so long, and I think this is why I failed so miserably last time. Well, I am going pretty much last and I’m nervous about it. The person who won could have selected me to go first, but chose to draw names instead, to be more fair of course. Fair. My. Ass.

Alas, I should stop moping around. My life is pretty awesome, all things considered.

Dreams can come true

So last night I could not get to sleep. I did a GMAT practice test after work and pretty much nailed it. Getting a score so high caused me to think of all the things that could happen if I actually scored that high on the real GMAT. And just when I had finally begun considering Carlson…

Which business school to attend has been an internal debate for a while. Say I get into somewhere like Booth, I have the option to either leave my job and leave the state for a few years to get my MBA, or remain in MN, go to Carlson and keep my job. There are pros/cons to each, which I have talked about extensively in all my MBA posts, but the gist is this: if I plan on settling down in Minnesota anyway, it would be a lot more beneficial for me to stay in MN, continue to expand my network and get my MBA from Carlson. Therefore, the only reason to go to another school is if 1) it is really awesome and 2) I want to live somewhere else for a while. As of Sunday, I had mostly decided that MN would be a better option.

Then a high score happened. As I was lying in bed last night I remembered back to a car ride when I was 13. I was sitting in the back seat, my mom and her friend Susan were in the front. We had just left my house and were crossing the bridge near the end of my driveway, on the way to meet a “client.” My mom and Susan were discussing whether they should begin selling pictures of me online to men that pay me to dress up in different outfits. Their logic concluded that because I would always be dressed, there was nothing perverted about it. The idea was ultimately vetoed, but I remember sitting in the back seat thinking that it wouldn’t be a smart venture for me to be involved with if I were going to get my MBA from Harvard and be a CEO.

I’m not saying this thought has prevailed my every decision (sadly), but it is one of those things that I have always said. You know, the sure things that you just know (feel in your gut) and never consider not to be a possibility, until they don’t happen but then it is still okay. (Self fulfilling prophecies?)

My list of sure things:

  1. I was reincarnated from a woman who was killed in the Great Chicago Fire. I think I had been claiming this before I even realized what, when, or where that happened.
  2. I’d go to Macalester.
  3. I would live in an awesome apartment downtown while working my awesome corporate job right after college (I even knew I’d have a dog named Chrome!).
  4. I’ll never get married and I’ll be a spinster without cats.
  5. I’ll go to Harvard for my MBA.
  6. I’ll be CEO of some company and give tons of money to tons of people/orgs after buying my penthouse apt.
  7. I’ll write a memoir.
  8. I’ll die too young from breast cancer.

True or not, those are just random things about me. You can imagine how, after nearly taking Harvard off my list of possibilities, it was exciting to revisit the idea of what that would do to my life. Life on the east coast? Meet some of the most fascinating and influential people ever? My resume stating: Education: Harvard Business School, MBA.

Mih, this girl’s gotta dream… eventually I took a Benedryl and went to sleep.

Oh, the games we play…

So I submitted my Booth Summer Scholars application a couple weeks ago. They projected that I would hear back towards the end of March, which just so happens to also be when I am scheduled to take the GMAT. Seeing as I’ve known myself for roughly 23 years, I can safely say that I would lose motivation in, and interest for the GMAT, were I to be rejected just prior to taking the test. Therefore, I figured out a way to fool the system (the system being my head).

First, this is something I’ve always aspired to do. The problem being, I have never known the correct people to team up with. The trick is to plant some type of work-around. In the past, I’ve thought about having people intercept phone calls or mail and not tell me until after a predetermined time. However, I’ve never been able to trust the people around me to be successful with this. I’m a hard person to fool, which means not only can I never have a surprise party (even though I would love one!) but I pick up on little things about people lying to me. Therefore, someone has to be highly skilled at the art of deception for this to work.

Insert Joe! Joe is an equally perceptive person and I thought he would be perfect for my little scheme. He knows what types of things I can pick up on and therefore is able to avoid them (that’s the idea, at least). Here’s the game plan: Joe checks my mail every day and doesn’t tell me if the letter from Booth came. If it does come, he is to open it up and keep whatever it says a secret, unless of course they are requiring some type of acknowledgement by a certain time. I also have a filter set up on my Gmail account to automatically forward any emails containing the word “Booth” to him, having them skip the inbox and get marked as read immediately (a little trick I used back during college for professors…).

Fool proof plan, right? Wrong… (or is it..?). Last night was day 2 of Joe checking my mail. He came upstairs, weirdly looked into his briefcase and then made it look like he was looking at papers (“oh.. this is just my FAFSA”). Instantly I was assured that the letter had come and he was hiding it in his bag. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and ideas of how to trick him into telling me kept popping in my head. But wasn’t the idea not to know? This also caused me to feel bad about his deception skills…

Today I realized though, he probably was just throwing me off track. If I think the letter already came then I won’t think about it. OR, if he conditions me to think that each day that he checks the mail he also goes into his briefcase, then it’s probably just so I won’t realize a difference when the letter actually does come. Either way, I know nothing more than I did yesterday and I think I just need more evidence.

[Joe: You are not to comment to me in person re: any of this blog post. Any reaction is a tell and you know that.]

Settling?

So this morning I took a practice GMAT test at the actual testing site. Basically I sucked balls on it even though I felt awesome and prepared going in, I was well rested, ate a nutritious breakfast, etc. I’m extremely disappointed and all I can think about is how that if I don’t score well enough, this will be the first time I’ve really wanted something and then failed at it.

Well, maybe. I didn’t get into Harvard for undergrad, although I didn’t try that hard at it either. By the time I looked at schools I knew that Macalester was where I wanted to be. So, I guess that may count as a success, who knows.

There were a few times at Macalester where I didn’t get the grade that I desired in a class (ha, more than a few…). But, I don’t know if that counts as me trying my absolute hardest. I think it actually does. I put balls into some of my papers and would still only get a B. After trying that so many times I just ended up deflated and gave up trying as hard.

Which is what I don’t want to happen here! I don’t want to start thinking that just because I got one terrible score that all my scores will be terrible from here on out. If I just roll over and accept my back up option as my only option, then, well, that’s just silly and I deserve it. Yet, I still keep asking myself if I will be able to live with myself if I end up going to my back up. I know that without a doubt I want my MBA from somewhere, but I truly believe that the where matters. I’m pretty sure Joe will still love me the same (maybe more, because he won’t have to move with me anywhere), but what matters the most is how I feel about it myself. And that’s the question I don’t know how to answer.

I still have 18 days before the actual exam… I know I can do this! (Hopefully! :-/ )

Business School

So I’ve been studying for the GMAT a lot these last few weeks. It’s going well, I just didn’t expect this Kaplan class to be so time-consuming! I spend about ~20hrs/week taking the classes, practice tests and doing the homework. In some ways it is a lot of fun, especially when I take a practice test and see that my score has improved.

In a lot of other ways, it is kind of a hassle. I get a little annoyed when I am doing work when I could be watching TV or something more enjoyable with Joe. I always have super bad ADHD when I’m sitting at his desk, taking the class online or something- Joe gets a little annoyed with it (as do I). At least when I am doing the class online though I can act up a little bit and not put so much effort into making sure I am quiet and still. This leaves more capacity for paying attention.

Last week Joe and I went to the Booth roadshow. I loved every single thing about it. The location, the caliber of students, the variety in classroom environments, and the extra curricular activities. I really, really think that it’s the school for me. Which is absolutely exciting! At the same time though, they talk about how much hard work it is and one girl was there who was married when she started and wasn’t wearing a ring at the info session, so, I can only conclude that going to Booth leads to divorce. When I am frustrated with my GMAT class taking up so much time and it is only a 1 month commitment, what am I thinking, thinking that 3.5 years of grad school would be a great idea? However, having my MBA would be bad ass. I like that material. I like the networking. It is on my bucket list of things to achieve. And, go hard or go home right? Why not go to a top-10 if I can?

Late night thoughts (as in, 10pm)

So last night I finished reading My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me, and all I could ask myself was “how the hell is this my life?” This was just after I read a Facebook post from someone I graduated with, who after still not having a job, posted these as her post-grad career options: vigilante/superhero, prostitute, wife, or live at home. I, on the other hand, spent 4 hours in front of the computer preparing for and taking my Kaplan Advanced GMAT course. The computer wasn’t even my own, it belongs to my super awesome boyfriend who didn’t even mind that I took over his entire desk for the evening and made him bring me chips and dinner and stuff.

So how do I find myself here? Lying in bed, completely satisfied and happy and content. I don’t know, a part of me doesn’t think it’s fair or something… like, this girl in the book is 33 and single and has had some cool jobs but also spent a lot of her time cleaning up cat piss. That should be me. She isn’t sure if she will get married or if she can even have kids anymore. She had a boyfriend for 5 years (the one that eventually wrote a book about her) and she thought that she was going to marry him. Does thinking that now about Joe make me a fool? Especially when I think it even though I just read a book about it not happening to yet another person and me thinking “oh yeah… but that won’t be me…” BUT IT WILL. Because I predicted pain and I’m always right. I guess my question is more why she had to go through a lot of crap and well, I guess I have too, but, urgle, I dunno. Sometimes I just want a dog.

MBA Update

So I’m still kind of torn on what to do, but I am worrying less about making the decision and more about putting myself in a position to make a decision (rather then allowing one to find me).

I met with a Macalester grad the other day, who is pretty well off in the financial sector. He said a person only goes to St. Thomas if she can’t get into Carlson. While I don’t necessarily want to go into finance, I don’t think my choice in business school should limit my options. I also don’t like the idea of going to a school that people look down on if I’m not completely sold by it either.

However, Carlson isn’t what I want either. If staying at my current position is high on my list of desires though, it would make sense to stay in town. If not, my options greatly increase and the task becomes exponentially harder.

Regarding the Booth summer program: not much has been determined. I’ve talked to a couple people at work to see if it is even a possibility and am waiting to hear back. The HR rep I talked to left me hopeful- she thinks it is a promising program. More on this to come soon.

If I were to construct my most ideal path in life from where I am right now, it would be this: I get a super awesome high score on the GMAT, get into Booth, move to Chicago and work at Google while obtaining my MBA. Flawless plan really.