Spring Thaw

I’ve been busy being depressed, watching Netflix, and procrastinating everything in my life. It reminds me a lot of when I was graduating from Macalester, and I’m mad at myself for falling into the same habits. I haven’t written, partially because of all of this, and also because I’m not always sure if I want to continue having a public blog. I started this blog, and have maintained it, because I think other people go through the same things I do, and it could be helpful for them. Yet, I wonder if it will ever hurt my chances at finding a job. Or worse, hurt someone I care about. It is a delicate balance that I am always very mindful of, but sometimes I make the wrong decisions. A friend of mine recently shared her own story though, and it reminded me of the reasons I will continue to share my own.

One example of fear related to a job… I recently went to Utah for an interview. The highlights were endless: the company is a small, fun technology firm; I would be a manager to 10+ high potential recent grads; they allow puppies in the office; culturally, I loved everyone I met. On the other hand though, it is in Utah, which is far from the NYC in which I envision myself living. Both geographically and culturally. I was really concerned about how me having a public life could influence my ability to lead a strong team. Would they have doubts in my leadership abilities because I have publicly stated I’ve dealt with depression? Would I be less effective with my subordinates knowing details of my personal life? I’ve never pretended to be religious, but I would also be nervous that my openness could be frightening to some of the more religious and conservative people that are in the majority in this small town in Utah.

In the 6 weeks since this interview, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself. First off, I’m just a candidly open person, both online and in person. I don’t say anything on the internet that I wouldn’t say in real life, and whenever I do have the opportunity to manage a team, I will carry this strength with me. I believe it makes me both relatable and inspiring, and is something I would value in a manger of my own.

Next, Utah isn’t for me. It is beautiful, absolutely, and I would love to vacation there sometime. Yet, I need to live in a big city. I love being able to walk everywhere and not have to worry about a car. I love being able to run down stairs and across the street to get my Starbucks coffee. I need to have a neighborhood bar when Joe and I can go after work for a drink or two, and not have to worry about driving home. I also feel that there is just more going on in NYC. My Macalester community, Girls in Tech, book clubs, etc., will all be available in New York. Sure, they could be in Utah too, but there would be fewer options and a longer commute to any of them.

Learning these things about me, that I want to be in NYC and that I’m really excited about managing a team (and believe I’ll be really great at it), took a while. I had been applying to a ton of data analytics positions, both because that’s what I know and because it is what I’m good at. Yet, it isn’t what completely excites me. So, today I still don’t have a job, but I know a lot more about what I’m looking for and can be more fierce in tracking that down. For now, I’m pushing down the fears that I’m a fraud and can’t actually positively contribute to a company. I’m happy it is finally spring.

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Women in tech v. Women in business

Last week I moderated a panel of female investors and entrepreneurs at a tech event in Minneapolis. I was excited to be involved and am thankful for the opportunity. I learned a lot from the women in the panel and I also learned more about myself. 

The tool I got to use for gathering questions was pretty neat. Anyone in the audience could submit a question online and it was directly fed onto the iPad I held. It kept the flow moving along quite nicely by not having to vocally solicit questions from the audience. It also gave me the ability to vet questions and as the moderator, that was my duty. 

As the questions started rolling in, I noticed a certain theme among some of them. Lean In came up, as did being a working woman with a family. I deeply considered whether to bring up these topics and ultimately I decided against it. I believe that when we are discussing women in technology it needs to be a different conversation than discussing women as professionals. 

I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In when it came out about a year ago. I thoroughly enjoyed its message. It really resonated with me considering my ambitions to become an executive officer at a large company while also wanting a family. I felt it clearly addressed the issues that separate men and women, both acknowledging that we are different, and calling for greater equality. This discussion needs to continue until women are treated and compensated as equals in all industries and is not specific to technology. 

Insinuating that fewer women are in technology because of these inequality issues ignores some of the outright sexism that exists in tech. Society does a terrible job of teaching kids that both boys and girls are smart and that girls are as capable within STEM fields, just as boys are as capable within historically female-dominated industries. 

Online and in conference rooms, women are often seen as inferior to their male counterparts. I’ve gotten weird looks introducing myself as the technical consultant and my male coworker as being from marketing. Phrases like “who can we talk to about the technical stuff” and “will you be taking the notes?”/“can you grab us all coffee” undermine both our intelligence and our earned right to be there. Assumptions about a lack of technical skills means women have to prove harder that they are competent. Additionally, as Amanda Hess explains, women encounter situations online that no one should have to deal with, making for a larger barrier to entry for women. 

Neither battle can be won in a silo, but I think acknowledging the differences is an important step. As we continue the dialog on gender equality, keep in mind there are additional hurdles for women to jump when entering technology and similar industries. The Minneapolis tech community is extremely supportive of women and is a place where I truly believe we are equal. I hope this spreads to more places and we grow towards a more gender balanced industry. 

Winning the lottery

On a long car ride last weekend, Joe and I began discussing what we’d do if we won the lottery. We both agree that we’d need to continue with the passions we have – neither of us are the type that would be happy lying on a beach for the rest of our lives. Turns out, Joe would keep his current job, which makes me totally happy for him. I had always said I would as well, but realized this last time, I might not. I definitely like the work I’m doing right now, but realize the contributions I could make without having to worry about an income. I love every single thing I am doing with Girls in Tech right now and look…

I began this post on August 14th at about 7:16am. I don’t entirely remember what I was doing back then, or why I didn’t finish it, but I remember it was right after BlogHer. I was just about to dive into the most amazing entertainment + technology idea ever, and I know this for two reasons.

  1. Over the summer I was contacted by a recruiter from EA within video games. I entertained the idea (ha! get it?) and went through the interview process. All my interviews had to be phone based though because of timing and a big sales meeting or something so everyone was out of town. I remember doing one of them from the hotel room in Chicago. You know how sometimes you talk yourself into loving something you didn’t know you did before? It was this experience that propelled my love for the entertainment industry and the connections it has with technology. I ended up not getting/taking the job, but enjoyed the experience nonetheless and am happy with the outcome.
  2. At BlogHer, I met a man. I don’t remember his name, clearly it was a close relationship we formed. I think he liked my dress… and I liked that he had a purple triangle coming out of his well-fitting-suit pocket. It was a dark grey, not black, and I think that goes so well with purple. So we went for a drink. It turned out that he worked for HBO. So, of course, cliché!, I pitched him my TV show idea. The premise was making technology cool by writing a sitcom about how some girl uses tech and is cool too. It would be like what Harry Potter did for wizardry (hah! I get this reference now) or something. After talking to him though, and having my idea completely shot down (well, he acted interested, but he was hitting on me and I can tell the difference), it started to evolve a little more. And that’s where I really got excited.

From there, the idea transformed into me wanting to create some reality show or even just a documentary on how important technology is to the entertainment industry. The ideas I tossed around were like, following Taylor Swift on tour (or maybe Lady Gaga!) or being on the movie set for Jupiter Ascending (because I really was there and was in awe of the technology required to manipulate the content into sci-fi.) highlighting all the technology required to pull those things together. I’ve always felt that breaking down the stereotype of tech being ‘men coding in a basement drinking mountain dew’ is a step towards closing the gender gap. Plus, being the fangirl I am, I knew it would have gotten Katie excited about tech back in the day. [Katie, for those of you who don’t know, is me in a time long ago.] I tweeted my excitement…

and

Eventually the idea became a webcast in which I’d start out by interviewing local technology women, and then expand into local entertainment-type things, maybe the news station or something like that, and grow from there. It was the tiered approach. The first video is being filmed next week actually, highlighting a woman working in video games! And that’s all well and good, right?

Well, then I was on my way to a Macalester board meeting (go Mac!) when I heard John Rausch being interviewed on the radio. This name isn’t necessarily supposed to mean anything to you unless you are a crazy cat in the music industry… but he was one of the sound engineers on Taylor Swift’s RED album and is from Minnesota. So… what if I just skipped all those tiers and cold emailed him to see what type of awe-inspiring content we could make to engage girls in technology??

So, that’s what I did. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

You’re doing a duathlon?

“…Duathlon? Well, I’m going to MIT!”

This is what I wanted to say to the two lovely ladies in the elevator this morning. They were actually really nice. They were chatting about working out and how one didn’t go swimming this morning because it was -9, but she is doing some triathlons and a duathlon this year so she’s still gotta get cracking. I felt jealousy, kind of like “well, yeah, well, I’m going to go to MIT!” as if it were a competition and I still wasn’t as cool as she is because she’s an athlete.

And then I remembered Marissa Mayer and this article I read about her being a marathon runner. If she can be techy-awesome and smart and still do athletic stuff, why can’t I? So, I’m thinking I’m going to do a full triathlon this year. It probably won’t turn me into Marissa, but what if it did? 

Summer Travel

I’ve been wracking my brain the last few months about what I should do with my summer. While speaking with my interviewer at MIT, he strongly suggested I take time in between work and starting school to decompress. It makes a lot of sense to take time between – I can only imagine what a shock it would be to go straight from working my corporate job to flying out to Boston to begin classes right away.

So, I’ve been exploring tons of ideas of what to actually do. Here are some things that have made my list:

  • Road trip across the USA
  • Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
  • Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
  • Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
  • Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
  • Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
  • Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
  • Work with a girls coding program in NYC
  • Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
  • An Internship

Road trip across the USA
This would only be fun with Joe. Road tripping alone would not only be semi-boring, but it would also need to be done without a car as the only car is Joe’s. This could, however, be combined with some other idea. If I go to Thailand for a few days and then come back, Joe and I could spend a few extra days eating donuts on the road out to Boston. Just sayin’

Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
I emailed my bff from my time in Chicago, asking if there was anything we could do together…

I was thinking, what would it look like if I visited you? Is there anything cool we could collaborate on or create during my time there? Is there anywhere you’d like to go that you might want a partner for? All these ideas are running through my head, and surprisingly (only surprising in that I’ve only known you three weeks in person) you’re on the short list of who I’d like to spend my time with.

Basically she is this amazing woman who also runs a women in technology group up in Canada and is on the very short list of anyone I would ever co-found a company with. Her and I getting together would make things happen.

Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
This is a good idea on the outside. I want to test myself physically… if I could join the Marines just to go through boot camp, I would. However, I couldn’t find many places that were more “get ripped” vs. “fat camp”. This Luxury Boot Camp could be good, but is only a week long. Bikini Boot Camp is similar, minus the mansion. The Camp lets kids join, which scares me off right away. At the end of the day, something like this might be fun to do with another lady, but wouldn’t leave me looking like Kara Thrace.

Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
This month long writing retreat in Greece would be beautiful. I could fully devote myself to a goal (finishing my book) while enjoying a new culture and city. There will even be a resident instructor that focuses on memoir writing. It’s a long time to spend away though… and I might get bored staying in the same place the whole time.

Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
On the MIT Admit site, a fellow admit mentioned that she will be spending two months in Nepal prior to orientation.

If you join me, we can also go hiking in the Himalayas, learn some Nepali, eat loads of dhal bhat, see all the stars in the sky ever, go asian safari-ing…

While this would seriously be one of the coolest, most amazing opportunities full of adventure and learning and on my own-ness slash some scary parts, it’s too open ended for me. Plus, if we didn’t get along it would be a very awkward start to business school.

Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
I was nearly 100% sold on this trip. It includes physical activity (yoga), adventure (traveling to 3 different areas) and writing. It would be a small, intimate group of mostly other women, most of whom would be older. It would be awesome. It also over laps though with a really good friend’s wedding, so, basically it won’t work. I could get in late or something, but then I might just prefer one of the other trips. Also, I wonder if the long classes would be good or bad – would it be better for me to just go on a trip where I can write rather than where I would have actual assignments?

Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
Part of me feels like I should learn more coding or development type skills if I’m going to go to MIT and start a company with someone. On the other hand, I’m actually pretty good at following lines of code from my computer science and math classes. I’m just not sure if I would meet the requirements of Hacker School… or is that impostor syndrome talking? Also, living in NYC for three months would require more travel for Joe and I – we’d go through withdrawal otherwise… aww

Work with a girls coding program in NYC
Girls Who Code is a great organization out of New York City. They put on a intensive summer program for girls to learn programming and discover their passion for technology. I don’t think they have any open positions nor are they looking for temporary summer folks. Yet, I would love nothing more than to help put together this program or something like it.

Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
I’ve never been to Asia. During college, I had signed up for a j-term trip to China, but without enough interest from other students, the trip was canceled. Still, it feels like the next place for me to visit. I randomly searched “Thailand adventure tour” and was brought to the g adventures website. They have a healthy supply of exactly the “world adventures” I am looking for. As of right now, I’ve narrowed it down to two:

  1. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/essential-vietnam-and-cambodia/AVEV/2014/
  2. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/indochina-explorer/ATIC/2014/

Fun? Absolutely. Spendy? Very much so… Worth it? Haven’t decided…

An Internship
I applied to a Management Leadership for Tomorrow program, which among many other things, offers support to students pursuing their MBA in a select number of programs. One perk of this program is having access to a few internships during the summer before the MBA program begins. Because MIT is one of the few partner schools, I applied and would be very excited to get this opportunity. However, I’ve received mixed messages. On the website, it looks like applications are only being accepted through January, but in an email I received from a partner school, they said they are reviewing apps through April (on a rolling basis).

This would be a great opportunity if it were to work out, but I’m nervous about waiting so long before making a final decision.

So who knows what I’ll end up doing – it may be any one of these items or something entirely different. Have a good idea? Let me know…

Jamaica: Day 1

Let me start by saying: I’m a big Hanson fan. I’m no where near the biggest Hanson fan. This has never been more clear to me than this morning, when at 10am people were already sitting out in front of the stage saving their spots for the 10pm concert. In Jamaica. Sitting, in one spot, all day. Just sayin’.

I knew the male to female ratio would be small, given that we are at Hanson’s Back to The Island event in Jamaica. I don’t have a truly accurate estimate yet, as some people are still coming in (we got here a day early). On the bus from the airport to the hotel though, Joe was the only guy out of 16. At least two people have asked him if he is with the band. Let’s just say there are tons of women.

On the bus ride over here, I reminded myself that women are my friends and not my enemy. Over the last few years, through college and even more so through my involvement with Girls in Tech, I’ve really grown to love and appreciate women. As a young girl, I was not this way. I’m sure it could have stemmed from a multitude of reasons, most prevalent in my mind is that I was weird. Girls didn’t want to be friends with the weird girl, boys were more apathetic. I think a bit also had to do with the small town Minnesota mentality that most had, whereas my mom raised me to think critically and be open to others. Not believing in god and being open to sexualities beyond heterosexual made me a walking target.

College was really the first time I had close girl friends. It was new to me, but I was at college and open to experimentation. I loved it. I realized that there is so much more I get from my girl friends than guy friends. They were able to relate in ways I never knew I wanted. There was never any weird sexual tension, or expectations that the relationship could turn into anything more. I really think that finding those people my freshman year is what allowed me to fully flourish into the person I am today. They accepted me – big burps, stories about pooping, and all.

And then I went into technology and that was liking open a big jar of wax. Actually, I’m not sure what the analogy means, if I even have it right. Wait! I think I mean can of worms. Yes, let’s go with that. I opened a big can of worms.

It took me a few months to realize how starkly male-predominant the technology world is, but once I did, I was like “this is crazy!” Then Girls in Tech happened. I saw all the ins and outs of society, understood what it meant to be a feminist, and how important it is to value and support other women rather than take on a competitive stance. The twenty of us really have to stick together. Just kidding, there are a lot more than that. But, if you have time, read this article about some of the challenges women face just by being on the internet.

Why have I told you all this? Because sometimes being in situations with hundreds of Hanson Fangirls brings me back to the bad place of not loving every woman. I know that in practice this is okay, but I also think I’ll be happier if I remember that not everyone here is an enemy. Assuming I have enemies is something that puts me on guard and has no place in my Jamaican vacation.

In other news, there are not one but two nude beaches at the resort. We found the first one by surprise this morning when we were sitting on the beach and looked off to our right. The second one we found while sitting in the lawn chairs out on our back yard. It now make sense that the only wifi we can catch in our room is: GRANDNUDEBEACH.

The Cliché Experience: BlogHer13

I had a good time at BlogHer. I wouldn’t consider it life changing, but I wouldn’t call it a worthless experience. First and foremost, BlogHer is very different from any tech conference I’ve been to. Essentially the male to female ratio flipped and it was like: bam – all these people I don’t typically interact with. I knew this going in though, prepared for it, and was truly excited about it.

But then I remembered why I tend to get along with men better than women. No, why I get along with techies better than fashion and mommy bloggers (and I mean no disrespect here!). I’m self conscious more than anyone would probably expect. I have this lovely veneer of confidence that usually sustains me, but I need to have something to keep it up. It’s like the “fake it till you make it” saying, where, when everyone is talking about certain topics I literally have nothing to add more than a nod. So then I’m like “dang, I wish I could just sit here and look cute” but in reality I know everyone is looking at me like “omg, why are you even here.”

Another insecurity that surfaced at BlogHer? My loneliness, my strong desire to have a best friend with none to call my own. I truly enjoy the company of other women and am jealous of those that have just an über strong connection with someone nearby.

Then came in Google Glass. Anyone and everyone asked me about them. Remember in my last post when I said I liked the attention? Yeah, it turns out I only like that in small doses. It wasn’t bad when people were excited about it and wanted to try it on or something, I definitely welcomed that. What I hated was the “what is that on your face?” inquires. One, because that isn’t very nice to say and two because I don’t know how to talk to people that have lived in a cave for the last 6 months. And I’m an introvert and kind of just wanted to wander in peace.

It wasn’t all “woe-is-me” though. The sessions that I went to were really engaging and informative; the keynote speakers were inspiring and made me laugh. It was a really well organized event that ran smoothly from start to finish. I connected with a lot of passionate women who I will remain in touch with. And, because they are the ones that really made my BlogHer experience, they shall get special mention below (there were others too, but I lost their cards or didn’t get them maybe). Right now though, I’m just truly looking forward to a hug from Joe and quality time with my friends from college.

A week of technology

The Holiday Tech Bash hosted by W3i last Thursday at Aria was awesome. It was just as awesome as the MinneDemo event hosted at the same space on Tuesday. Except, Friday morning I woke up with a tad more of hangover, probably due to the bar Joe dragged me out to afterwards.

At the event though, Girls in Tech raised some money! I think it was my fabulous speaking skills that earned us the dough. Or not, because people were busy playing cards. But I did manage to turn 50 fake dollars into a lot more, so, I can take a sliver of credit myself. It was just a really cool event though where I met a lot of great people – and saw some friendly faces too! Including someone from Macalester! I really feel like I’m beginning to become connected to the Tech community here in the Twin Cities, and I’m even more excited when I think of all the great things Girls in Tech can accomplish. I’m really proud to be heading things up.

Monday night was a Girls in Tech Happy Hour. It was held at aLoft hotel and was a pretty good time. Frist, I just love that space. Second, it was like a symbolic passing of the baton type of thing… both Jacque and I got up on “stage” and spoke for a few minutes. It was nuts because there was not an ounce of nervousness in me. It’s amazing to feel so great and confident about something – I know I’m doing the right thing.

Last week just just so much awesomeness wrapped into a bubble, and then this week, I’ve got notta-damn-thing planned. I hate how that seems to happen. It should be okay though, Joe is finally done with class!

Anyway, even though I didn’t get any book editing done today, it was still a good day. I did some nonprofit stuff and had a nice time with Joe. Then I took my new prescription which gives me a tummy ache and knocks me out – not sure why I haven’t learned to just take it at night yet. We went to the Holidazzle and I felt like a rock star remembering the order of the floats (or at least recognizing each one) from the time I worked on the planning team (Winter of 2010).

I just found out Milkweed Editions has decided to close/cancel their Jan – March submissions calling and I’m über disappointed. That’s when I was going to submit my book and then get published and be super awesome. It would have been nice to work with them because they too are a local nonprofit and really strike my fancy. However, I was hoping to get a decision regarding my publishability by October just in case they actually did want it. Then I could put “author” on my resume for Stanford and be even cooler. Now I’ll just continue finalizing the manuscript and consider branching out to other publishers, or, wait to see what Milkweed says.

Also, totally managed to connect with someone from the Grace Hopper conference committee today. Girls in Tech is going to partner in some way when they come to Minneapolis for their 2013 Celebration of Women in Computing. 2013 is going to be a good year.

Quick updates

Today was a pretty awesome day. Remember a while back how I was all like “oooohh… work never challenges me…”? Well, I’m not saying I’m all of a sudden über challenged or anything, but I have been thrown onto a few more projects. Which equals busy sauce at work. This makes me happy.

Further, a super awesome article came out about me today. If you are so inclined, you can read it here: http://tech.mn/news/2012/12/04/kate-agnew-girls-in-tech-msp/ .

Quick life update? NaNoWriMo: 30,000 words. Not the 50k I strove for, but 30k nonetheless. This means I am 25k closer to finishing my book. I’m really happy with where it is at. I’m confident it is what I would call a first draft as it does chronicle most of my life. Step 1: Write it. Check! Step 2: Edit it. In progress…

I totes bought Joe a pretty good Christmas gift, until I realized he probably wouldn’t like it. So, even though it was already wrapped and under the tree, I unwrapped it, returned it, and will be getting him something else. Maybe there is such a thing as shopping too early…

We rearranged our apartment! The “office” is now in the living room, and the couch and TV are in the den. This is an effort to make me a happy camper through the winter months rather than sitting in the darkness. Also, I love my sun lamp. High five for technology equalling happiness.

Lastly, condo hunting has been great. We didn’t love the IVY, reasons for this include: not allowing owners to rent out (how would I go to San Francisco if I got in?!), charging owners for access to gym, not including parking in the 1 bedrooms, tiny closets, small windows etc. The Carlyle rocked our socks off. Beautiful pool, hot tub, workout area, view, morning sun, nice counters, huge closet, home to a timberwolves player, great parking (which is included!). I’m not completely sold yet though, mainly because we haven’t been approved for our loan yet because we haven’t applied yet. We are looking for more of a May move in date so I’m just getting the lay of the land now anyway.

Well, I’ve gots to run to my Girls in Tech meeting… first one as Managing Director!

Smitten with the Mellon

It’s hard for me to equate this specific experience of doing a business school visit to dating [see Business School = Online Dating]. Before coming here, I barely knew anything about Tepper, and yet, because they offered me a place to stay I flew half way across the country to get to know them. This is something you should never do when dating, or at least, is something I never did.

I only knew a little about Tepper and that was solely what I’d read online. I didn’t have any first hand experiences with them, other than the emails that they send me (which for a while there, were actually annoying and boarderline stalkerish – 4 a day, 7 in a week). Had it been a man, the emails definitely would have been a bright red flag that would have thwarted any visitation consideration.

Yet, here I am, smack dab outside of Pittsburgh with a group of 59 other prospective students. And, truth be told, this weekend couldn’t be going any better had I planned it myself.

Walking in, I was a little weary, but also kind of tired slash not really concerned too much. There wasn’t any nervous anticipation, what I might feel walking up to Stanford. By having no preconceived notions on the school, I put myself in a complete state of indifference. Shit, if things didn’t work out, at least I got to meet some interesting people and experience a weekend in a new place. Nothing to lose, no worries going in.

But, then things starting going really well. The first table I chose was three guys. I can’t imagine myself choosing any other, and I sat right across from a hottie. It was nice because he was a second year, but given when I want to start business school, him and I were similar in the number of years of experience beforehand. He also had a strong mathematical mind, and basically made me feel like the analytical side of Tepper was something that would really resonate with my skill set. Plus, he started a sentence with “well, if you get in…” and I’m like “hold up, I’m not concerned about that” to which he stated that he appreciated my modesty ;)

Turns out, this place is actually quite ripe with start-up companies and an entrepreneurial mindset. There are tons of tech companies in the area, many of which were started by Tepper Alum. Also, the school has a strong technology focus which is something that I am definitely interested in.

Also, it’s tiny. We were at the weekly Beers Social (I shit you not, the school funds a weekly beer social hour, complete with food) when I found a group of guys to chat with. I was standing in the corner like the awkward newb I was, when one came up and said “hey, are you a prospective?” We were getting the initial introduction-y stuff out of the way, when I told them I was from Minnesota. They were like “you gotta meet Chang!” introduced me to him, and it turns out there are 4 current students at Tepper who are from Minnesota. I have now met them all.

So, in short, small school, close community, some folks raved about the partners program and I talked to a few people who had come to Pittsburgh with their partner, which was awesome because they only had nice things to say. Good tech focus, tons of small start-ups in the area… let’s just say, I’m not ruling it out yet.