Business School = Online Dating

Searching for the right business school is online dating. Not “similar to” or “just like,” no, it is. How can I say this with such certainty, you ask? Because I have extensive experience in both arenas, that’s how.

First, spoiler alert here, a new blog mini-series I am working on chronicles my online dating adventures. I’ve titled it “The Chronicles of OKC.” I dated a few handfuls of men before (and well, after too) finding Joe, and I can say it’s a cool thing. You down select through reading different profiles, creating specific criteria “only show me men aged 24-35 that are taller than 5’6″,” and through some light messaging. Only the lucky few are awarded a date.

Compare this to the business school search. You look at tons of business schools online, finally getting a better understanding of what your search criteria is “I want class sizes smaller than 50, the ability to gain international experience, and for it to be a top-tier program.” Now you are left with only a handful of schools, with whom you thoroughly review via profiles, feedback from others, etc. Maybe you even exchange emails with the admissions folk. When you are ready to take that next step, you set up some in person meeting. Campus visit? Local information session? The median doesn’t always matter, but the feelings you get while on this “date” can be very telling about how your personality will fit with the institution.

Let’s take tonight as an example. Kellogg was in town doing an information session of their full-time programs. I’ll admit, I was a little lax in saying “yes” to this proposal, knowing little about the school. However, they are ranked number four according to US News (read: 6’0″, masters holding professional, living in a condo downtown), so I just went with it. Right off the bat, they impressed me with highlighting the MMM program. While I still don’t know what it stands for, I know it is a dual-degree program, resulting in an MBA and a masters in engineering in two years. The engineering degree can be focused on innovation and design and doesn’t require students to have a CS (computer science, folks) undergrad degree. Holy cow, sign me up. It’s like all that I’ve ever wanted to accomplish wrapped up neatly into two easy years!

After diving more deeply into the university though, I found myself comparing everything they said and did to Stanford. “Oh, well Stanford has a better partners program…” What does this mean then? Are Stanford and I meant to be? Maybe, but I need to stop looking lustfully at their profile and sending quirky messages back and fourth – we need to meet on their turf. We met in that group setting a while back, which was great, but I want something more… intimate. Who knows, it might not be a good fit, but I’m not making any friends by going on all these info sessions with Stanford on my mind.

My overall opinion on Kellogg? We would make great friends. A lot of the program sounds great, they value involvement, alumni engagement, designing your own education through many elective options, etc. However, I don’t feel that spark. I’d go visit them on campus or even consider applying (especially to the MMM program!), but my after-the-first-date gut feeling: it will never be more than a friends (maybe with benefits) type of relationship.

Busy bee

I’ve been totally overloading my schedule lately to keep me busy and entertained. It is totally working and I like it a lot. I don’t like when I get sedentary because then I also get emo. I talked to Drew this past weekend, but only on gchat. It was still super lovely though. Joe is always a great listener, but Drew has been through most of it so he comes from a different perspective. He starts at Stanford soon and I’m über excited for him.

Also! Last night I had dinner with an old friend from college. I hadn’t seen her in way too long so it was really nice to catch up. I forget how nice it is to be surrounded by people that get me. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad…

I’m applying for a couple different things here and there. One I’ve talked about before and that is the Girls in Tech PR position. My meeting about that is tomorrow! I’m also looking into being the volunteer lead for the food program at the school I used to go to. I thought that I’d blogged about it after one of the times, but I guess I didn’t. Anyway, I’ve volunteered with them a few times through work and it is always a great/sad experience to be back where I went to elementary school and see how I have/it has changed. Being the lead coordinator would be a great experience to both connect to the community more and make a bigger impact. Lastly, I’m thinking about applying to a fellowship type of thing. I heard about it through work, and it is really a mentorship program but I would be paired up with someone awesome in business and then would go to programs now through April. I need to read more about it though before I make a decision. It is with League of Women Voters and I don’t know enough about them as an org. Normally this is something I’d ask my Grandma about, but she’s in Ireland or London or something awesome like that. I’ll have to Google it.

Rawrrrrr Stanford

Raaaawwwrrrrr I want to go to Stanford so bad. Like, rrrraawwrrrr I can do this and it is going to be AWESOME.

Everything I heard from the panel of students/alumni made me love it more and more. From the non-competitiveness to the idea that they take people for who they are rather than what they know. I know a lot, and I know this, but I also have a crap-ton to learn and I want Stanford to be the place I do it.

When I started thinking about business school a while ago, I was bogged down by choosing a concentration or a particular area of study. I’m not going to business school to be an expert in finance or marketing, but rather, I’m looking to get a holistic view of business in general, with an even greater focus on the human component. As my readers know, I’ve done a lot of self discovery lately, and more importantly have begun appreciating/respecting who I am more and more. I have a specific style, with my sarcasm, shyness, and also a great ability to make others feel at ease when meeting 1:1. I want to focus on honing who I am, how I connect with others, and how I can enrich the lives of those around me.

Anyway, its time for bed, but just wanted to get these last minute thought out :)

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.

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.

Trip of love

So I absolutely love my team. And I had the best business trip ever. Actually, it wasn’t better than the last in terms of awesomeness from a work standpoint, but a lot of really cool things happened to me. First, I finally got an email from Stanford. Like I’ve said before, they have been playing hard to get with me and haven’t sent me anything since I got the confirmation email of “expressing interest”. I nearly shit myself because while I understand that getting an email is nothing like getting accepted, I am excited to have come this far. Also, it’s better than not being contacted at all.

I also got to drive by Stanford and sigh longingly. I fell in love with California to the max and now I’m absolutely sure that it’s where I want to be.

The next totally awesome part? I just found out that one of the companies that I will visit this summer at my Booth Program is Google. Yes, I said Google. Google in Chicago. I am so excited I could die. What if I don’t want to leave? I’d probably just have to move in there or something.

The lame part of my trip? All the airline delays. We were late as shit getting out of MSP (damn Delta!) and the flight then felt that much longer. I’m sitting at the airport again now and I’m very much hoping that shit shiznet gets out on time.

But why do I love my team you ask? Because they are awesome. Today I was hungover and said that I wish I could have taken home my leftovers from our vendor dinner last night because pasta is awesome for a hangover. My manager told me that I should have because I’m running the show mostly and that I need to remember to just do stuff and then stick to the “ask for forgiveness, not for permission” philosophy. It’s a good philosophy.

I also love them because I feel like they all appreciate and accept me for who I am. They don’t want me to change my sarcasm or put on a front because they think I’m awesomesauce already. This is something that I always value because, to be honest, it is rare. Like I’ve said before, people either love me or they don’t, but the truth is, the love is a lot harder to come across. So, High Five to my team. You guys are awesome(sauce).

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.

Accepted

So I was accepted to Carlson yesterday. This wasn’t a big surprise, but I’m still thankful to not have been rejected. I’m really not sure what to do now though…

I met with a friend for drinks the other night. We went to Macalester together and I think she has a really good head on her shoulders. Her perspective was that I shouldn’t even go to Carlson, even if to just boost my GPA for other applications. I think I’m beginning to agree.

While at first I wanted to go to Carlson to keep me busy and engaged, it would also be a nice tool to show the Stanford admissions committee that I am ready for business school and will take it seriously. However, if my heart isn’t in to Carlson, this may not achieve the desired effect.

On a related note, yesterday I had a phone interview with YPOTC, a group for young professionals of the twin cities (thus, the name). I applied to serve on the board as VP of Information Technology, and I really want it. I’m always looking for opportunities to network and engage with my community. This is a perfect way to join both my passion for board work and for developing my tech skills. I’m looking forward to hearing back from them. I think hearing back from them will help me make my Carlson decision.

MBA thoughts

So, I’m starting to think a little bit more seriously about getting my MBA. I mean this in two ways. I was checking out St. Thomas the other day, and I really liked it. When I get into a mood like that I can be like, omg, I want to start ASAP (keep in mind I haven’t even taken the GMAT yet…). But, because I have less than 1 year of work experience, the admissions director suggested that I wait until at least the summer semester. This kind of blows, in that, I have the energy and excitement and gusto to do it now, so that automatically leads to that I should. However, someone is saying no to me and I tend to not like that. But, at the same time, sure, it makes sense, maybe I’m not ready yet. Those 3 months will definitely help that, right? (Maybe.)

But, now that I am going to be putting a little bit more focus into the GMAT and actually making an attempt at getting in… well, maybe I should shoot the sights a little higher, no? I remember when I was younger I always had plans to go to Harvard for my MBA and still hold on to that it would be pretty bad ass to do so. (Watching Limitless last night didn’t help suppress any of my dreams of grandeur). Can someone with my lame GPA get into a place like that? Probably not. But I feel that I should at least go down kicking and screaming. So, short of video taping myself in my bikini for the admissions board, I will make at least a half-assed attempt at making myself desirable to them (that was a Legally Blonde reference).

Plus, even though my experience is relatively lacking, scores are good for 5 years, so if I rock the socks off of the test (typical), I can always wait until I’m an awesomely well-rounded creature. I heard Stanford is nice most of the year (right Drew?).