Oh the MBA Internship

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I’ve been thinking for the last three weeks about how to actually articulate my experience looking for an internship. Coming back from China I was freaking out a bit as most of my peers had already secured their summer jobs. I, however, had (and have) not. Even though I made it to a third round interview with one company, they stopped answering my emails and I was never formally rejected. I understood coming into recruiting season that this would be the case, though. Entertainment is famous for their just-in-time hiring, unlike consulting where companies know the exact number they need a year ahead of time. I knew what I was getting myself into and still I let the pressure get to me.

I thought that by going to a top business school this would be an easier process. For example, I applied to a Social Media MBA position with an tech/entertainment company. I was rejected within 2 hours of submitting my application. In my cover letter, I explicitly stated both my involvement with managing social media accounts for various organizations (Girls in Tech, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Sloan Women in Management, etc.) and the Social Media Management class I’m taking. This, plus everything else on my resume, wasn’t enough to even get an interview.

The black box-ness is especially frustrating. I’ve submitted 40+ online internship applications, some with minor connections. I had one first round interview that I felt went pretty well, but I was rejected soon after. I requested feedback to, you know, improve my chances on the next position but, no dice.

Further complicating things is needing to decide between LA and NYC. I clearly fell in love with LA when I was there in January and have had that as my plan ever since. After spending time in China and having Joe go back to Minnesota for a week (stupid baseball), I remembered that I really like spending time with him and I’m just happier when I am around him. So, why move myself across the country from him for 3 months? Well, probably because this is maybe the last time I’ll get an opportunity to just uproot everything and try out my hand at an entertainment gig in LA without any worries. And really, even if I do get a little depressed being all alone in California, hopefully the sun will lighten the mood.

Right now I’m in the final stages with two different roles, one in NYC and one in LA. I haven’t received an offer from either yet so I don’t want to jinx it, but it would be a difficult decision to make if I were offered both. It is just such a roller-coaster of emotions – I get my hopes up and then they die and then I have to get excited about the next thing. I know it will all work out in the end but it is hard not knowing! I like to know things!

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Happy… even through the cold

Things have been really good for me lately, too good. So good that I think it’s probably one of the “high” phases in the great cycle of depression. Which to be fair, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes me not take it for granted one bit.

Joe and I were sitting on the couch the other Saturday night – I was nursing a cough and didn’t feel like going out after such a busy day. [Mark and my brothers came over to celebrate Christmas. I love all of them, but just having children around/in my apartment is a little stressful.] So, after having a nice dinner, complete with a slow-dance desert, we settled down to a lovely movie. Cuddled into his crook [the space between his arm and body] I felt so at peace. Happy with my job and happy with my relationship; happy to be sitting on my pink velvet couch wrapped up in the most comfy blanket in the world; proud of the progress I’ve made on my book and excited to make the next steps in applying for a writers grant; relaxed after a wonderful day with my family and just being.

Joe made it through draft 1 of my book. It made for a couple of silly moments – me waking up in the morning to him reading stories such as my birth or my first period. But overall, there is no one else that I would rather have the first read. It is no where near done. I left holes and mentioned random characters without any introductions. But, it has a beginning and an end and some stuff in the middle, so I consider it a draft. His “assignment” was to read through and tell me where he wanted more. I don’t always know how much detail to go into, either when explaining people or situations, so having an outsiders perspective is priceless. Just having someone read the draft though, makes me realize it is a real book. His ending comment, “As you’re aware, stories need fleshing out and more flow, and you need more of them – especially more stories from your Sam-and-older years. What you have is compelling and interesting, though. I think there’s definitely something here,” was all I needed to keep going. After a short break after NaNoWriMo, I’m back on the horse.

In other news, a friend and I went looking at wedding dresses the other day. Not because either of us are getting married, but because dresses are pretty and girls are allowed to day dream and stuff like that, and it is wedding dress season for some reason. But then some staff ladies (yes, multiple!) came in and were like “Can we help you?” and “what are you looking for?” and “oh you should try stuff on” and then I had a panic attack and needed to leave. Good thing I don’t need to wedding dress shop for realzies.

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.

Managing my brand

So I’ve been working with my brand manager to come up with some cohesive image of myself. I already had my font going into the deal (adobe garamond pro) but wanted more of a polished/holistic image. I like the business cards that I had back in the day, but they have too much information on them that is no longer relevant. For instance, they state that my bachelors degree is “expected May 2011.” Well, crap son, I have that now. It just means they are a little outdated (and weren’t the highest of quality).

However, now I’m faced with the dilema of really focusing my brand right now. Which email address do I want to include? Do I want them to have my website too? I thought of splitting the pack in 2; half having my website, the other half my email. However, my brand manager questioned the email address I have containing “katie” and me branding myself as “kate.” Point taken, Sami! However, my ideal address isn’t available through Google and I actually ended up creating a Google Apps account for this website tonight anyway. What does all this mean? I don’t know. The pressure of needing to commit to this whole “Kate’s a Cliché” thing is a lot. But why is that? This is the truest version of myself. I talk about work (which I love and is going really well right now) and I talk about my issues with life. I talk about my hunky bf but also my dreams and desires. If there is anyone that I want to do business with in the future, shouldn’t I hope that they would accept the full and true me?

Yes, but should I always open with that?

No, I don’t have to open with my life story, but having an awesome website can still be impressive and shit.

But what if I fall behind? What if I decide that maybe I’m not a blogger/write and I want to pick up… beading or something (ha!). Still, were that to happen, wouldn’t I want to retain my image without directing everyone to my out of date website? Arg, what to do what to do?!

It feels that committing to a business card that has my website is more closed than I tend to like things. I mean, my motto is to leave every door open, but, then what if I just end up with a bunch of open doors and no idea where to go? Then I would probably throw my arms out and spin for 2 minutes super fast and stumble into which ever I happened upon… which doesn’t get me any further with the Brand conundrum.

Call me maybe?

So today was a fantastic day. I was quite tired when I woke up, but only because I was up so late. I find it hard to go to a game and be so riled up only to come home and go to sleep. Anyway, made it into work with coffee in hand (judgmental boyfriend next to me, “we should really stop wasting so much money on these things!”) with time to prep for my 7:30a meeting. After that, the day was jam packed and that’s exactly how I like it.

A one piece of awesomeness: my project buddy, who up until this point has been driving this big project I’m working on, put in his two week notice last week. The timing isn’t great from a project standpoint- things are really ramping up and funding requests are due next week, etc. The timing is absolutely perfect from a “Kate needs more to do” standpoint.

Throughout this project I’ve gone in with the whole “I need to understand everything that is going on incase PB dies or something” mentality. Thankfully he didn’t die, he is just leaving the company. This means I get to step up and take over the project which I’m über excited for.

When I first found out he put in his notice last Thursday it took me so long to fall asleep. I was excited and jumping around and couldn’t wait to meet with my manager the next morning to discuss everything. I really see this as my opportunity to step up and demonstrate what I am capable of. The only thing that really stood in the way though was convincing my manager that I was the right person to take over. It made sense to me, but I know that I strive in an environment where I am thrown in and forced to swim. My manager has no reason to understand that about me yet.

Friday couldn’t have turned out any better had I written the script myself. I met with my manager and she was like “Kate, you are awesome, I need you on my team long-term and I’m excited to see you grow into this role” or something close to that ;). What this means though is that I am getting a promotion and I get to really drive this project through. Ahh! I’m so excited because it is awesome and fun and exciting.

At home now… just put together a turkey burger in an effort to give myself energy to clean. This was unsuccessful because it was really old and turned out disgusting. I looked on the box for like, 6 minutes to find the expiration date, but couldn’t find anything. So, I ate it anyway. The ketchup and vodka masked the freezer burn.

In the meantime, I’m putting together my menu for tomorrow. I invited some friends over for a couples dinner and there are some gluten free needs that I have to prepare for. My manager is gluten free and had I thought about this any earlier than right now I could have asked her for advice at work today. Alas, I found a website that should suffice. Now I just gotta drag my ass down the street to the new Lund’s (I’m assuming they are more likely to have gluten free rice-noodles than Target…)

As my last random-ass note, the title goes out to my grandma because I have been trying to get a hold of her for a hella long time. I need her social security number in order to sign us up for a white house tour for our D.C. trip in October. High five.

The moment of no return

So let me begin by saying “uh-oh.” I may have found a new hobby/addiction. We all know that I am in love with Google… so today I went onto eBay to search for Google memorabilia. This all started with my friend Laura whom I recently stayed with in DC. She mentioned that she has a Google water bottle due to a project her company did with them. I was like “omg, that’s the coolest thing in the entire world.” Sadly though, it was at work so I was unable to bow to it (aka, see it). I was having a difficult time coming up with stuff on eBay though… there were too many Google phones and computers and people trying to sell you the ability to make your website appear higher in Google… until I came upon a wooden block puzzle. Inside the description it said “not found at the Google store.”

What?!

A Google STORE?!

So I trudged my way on over to The Google Store where I proceeded to spend the next hour adding everything in the world I would ever want Google branded.

I’m not trying to spend money I’m not trying to spend money I’m just getting my credit cards paid down I don’t need to be buying this stuff I don’t even work there yet and when I’m CEO I’ll get all this crap for free so don’t even look at it okay…. Is what I had to repeat over, and over, and over in my head.

Once I knew the specifics of what I was looking for though, I went back on over to eBay to search for cheaper prices (as if that would happen). On this second time around though.. I found something I missed before. An entire realm of products… collectibles… happiness that had previously been hidden to me. I found.. the world of Andrew Bell Android Collectible Vinyls. Were one to create something with only me in mind, it would combine my two favorite things: Google and miniature figures. Holy crap, I can’t even make this stuff up. I’m going to go broke and this isn’t even funny.

Searching for more information only led to me finding this blog, which informed me that I am missing AndroidCon 2012. This doesn’t even sound like a real thing but it sure makes me sad I won’t be going to Comic-Con this year because my Booth program overlaps and I’m a sad Sally. Reasons 514-516 why I need to go to Stanford.

Day 2: Business Trip

So, the next day was even better than the first. I woke up early, found a lovely Caribou Coffee only a few blocks away and awaited the rest of my crew. We were to be at the vendor’s at 9am so my crazy ass waking up at 5am had a long time to wait.

When we got there, there were cones out front saving us the most awesome parking spaces. I technically took a picture of it because it was awesome, but I also don’t want to give away where we were. So, let’s just say, it was definitely first class service.

Inside, things were even better. The office was located in an old warehouse and it was really neat to see how they had updated it. I loved their technologies and energy, the day was fantastic all around.

At lunch, I somehow snagged a seat next to the CEO (or rather, he snagged a seat next to me) and we began chatting a lot about what I do at work and how I got here, where I want to go next, etc. I told him about my awesome Mary-Kate and Ashley website from back in the day and… I’m pretty sure he was impressed. It was so inspiring though to meet with the guy that started it all and had this drive to just get stuff done. I asked him about his path since undergrad and really appreciated his candor.

By the end of the day, I was pretty much in love with the company. From wanting to use their technologies to wanting to join their team, it was really an eyeopening experience. That night at dinner we went to this super awesome restaurant. We even had a private room that had floor to ceiling windows facing into the kitchen.

The first appetizer that they brought out was a plate of raw meat. I was all creeped out, thinking “hell no is there anyway I will be consuming completely uncooked beef tonight.” Turns out I was correct because I got to cook it myself on a stone they provided. It was seriously the best piece of meat I have ever tasted in my life.

Throughout the meal the vendor employees kept moving around to get acquainted with us. I met some really fantastic and experienced people. Their entire team was people I felt that I could bullshit with and get to know on a pretty real level. First a man sat next to me and he was pretty funny. We started talking about being Native American and some of my experiences at work. After awhile he got the table’s attention and said that he was at the good end of the table because I am pretty funny. That felt good. One woman was the COO and she shared a lot of advice. Another woman, whom I particularly liked, talked with me for quiet awhile about her experiences through business school and working at a large company for such a long time. What I took away from that conversation was 1) don’t get married to young and 2) leave a company when you feel you are no longer being challenged. She felt she waited too long and she loves what she is doing now so much that she feels she may have missed out.

This is my really awesome salmon.

After bringing up my lava cake ordeal from the night before, they pulled some strings to get a lava cake for me (the restaurant didn’t carry it… but somehow made it appear.) 

After the fantastic meal we had we went out to the club. Seriously. I’d never been clubbing with a vendor before (or danced with a CEO) but I tell ya, that’s the way to go.

My bestie Drew was actually able to meet up with me too that night, and him and I got to catch up like awesomesauce and I think he might even be coming to visit me in August. That would make me the happiest person in the world mostly.

Moving in

So, Joe and I found an apartment. It is in the same building I was already living in, which is nice because 1) they just let me transfer my lease to my upgraded room and 2) it will be hella easier to move me as I don’t need to touch anything in my storage room and I only need to bring things down a floor.

We are moving in today.

Well, more specifically, we are moving my stuff in today because I need to be out of my old apartment by tomorrow and he doesn’t need to be out of his until the end of June. So, we are going to move all of my stuff first and then get his when we are under less of a time pressure.

This is so nice for so many reasons, but mainly I’m happy because I won’t be increasing my commute at all (currently 7 minutes) and Joe won’t have to concern himself with the stresses of moving while just starting out in his grad school program (beginning of June).

If you’ll remember from my Condo v. Rent post, one “pro” I listed for buying a condo was being able to paint. Well, turns out, they will paint things in my building too! We get to have an “accent wall.” A few weeks ago, Joe and I went paint shopping and got a really pretty blue. I’m so excited to spice up my our apartment!

Lastly, I’m so excited to move in with Joe because he is the most awesome person ever and wakes me up every morning with a back rub just because he knows I don’t like the sound of alarm clocks. I’m serious.

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.

Happiness?

So I was at happy hour the other day (it’s a corporate thing, okay?) when I started talking about a book that I am reading (I was very thankful at this moment that I have been reading books). Stumbling on Happiness is about happiness, its existence, and the sciences (neurology, psychology etc.) behind it.

My coworker brought up an anecdote she had recently heard- a study that followed two people, a man who just became paralyzed and another who had just won the lottery. After a year, both exhibited/claimed an equal level of happiness with their lives. Although I see this as being an extreme case, I am inclined to believe that after a given amount of time, happiness levels neutralize.

I was probably the happiest right after I graduated. Everything was turning up “Kate” and I was so excited to begin the promising life ahead of me. I still feel that way, nothing has changed for the worse and in the grand scheme, I would consider myself in a better position today that I was back then. However, I feel like my happiness has kind of leveled out and I am no longer waking up every day full of excitement for the world that lies ahead.

Relationships are another example- my relationship with Joe is amazing. I get what I need from it, we have tons of fun together and we rarely fight (and if we do, we talk through it in a healthy way, which is crazy in its own). However, it was more exciting when it was new- I felt like it gave me a visible happiness that anyone could see. I wouldn’t say that this has worn off, but the constant smile that was on my face has turned into just an everyday-expression.

So, what I’m getting at, is whether happiness is a truly attainable goal. Most people wish others happiness in life, but isn’t happiness momentary? If after a year, I would feel about just as happy if I were making millions or just reading a few awesome books… what’s the point? I feel like I’ve been nurtured to believe that success somehow leads to happiness, but if happiness comes with anything, wouldn’t I be just as fine twiddling my thumbs?

No… probably not, and maybe this is the inherent complication of happiness.