Sunday, October 31, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
Many thanks to everyone for their good wishes. Hugs and warm thoughts to everyone else having problems.
Everything happens for a reason etc., etc. I'm adjusting my mental timeframe to 31st March.
It looks like my third Stanford recommender (ex-boss) has submitted her rec AFTER the deadline. Why? How?
It's immensly frustrating. Not only does this mean potentially having to wait until March for a decision, it also means a bit of a waste of effort from my other two recommenders, who worked very hard at a time when they are very busy in order to meet the deadline. There's an outside chance that those nice people in Palo Alto might be being a bit lenient and let me into round one, as everything will be there when they get in this morning, but I'm not holding my breath.
I knew this was all going too smoothly.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Yesterday evening I did a quick on-line shop and sorted out thank you presents for all three recommenders. Colleague and former boss are getting nice scented candles from Jo Malone and current boss is getting a pen from Tiffany - he's one of those people who it's really difficult to think of something for and I decided that a pen was a. practical and b. easy to pass on to someone else if he wants to. I just need to sort my self out with some thank you cards and get a small thank you present for the friend who read through my essays for me (Theatre Tokens, I think) and then everyone should be taken care of.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I've still heard nothing from Kellogg about an interview. It's approaching five weeks since I got the confirmation that they'd received part 1 or my application, and interview information is meant to go out between two and six weeks from that point. So I'm geared up for hearing from them in the next ten days. I'm a bit surprised that it's taking so long.
S2S postings suggest that the Wharton invites have started. I really must get that SMS notifier sorted out . . . .
Friday, October 22, 2004
The event was at Deutsche Bank's offices and the presentations started out with a Wharton alumnus from the class of 94 who works for Deutsche Bank. He talked about the fact that DB is the largest European recruiter from Wharton and that they regard the school as 'the greatest talent pool in the world'. He then talked about what he'd got from Wharton, focussing on the ability to manage change and the ability to learn. He said that the ability to survive depended on the ability to adapt, and that depended on the ability to learn. Despite the fact that he felt he'd forgotten lots of the detail that he'd learnt about areas that he now didn't use, Wharton had given him the ability to manage change and to keep learning, and they were the most valuable things in his career. He compared choosing a B-school to choosing a spouce, and sessions such as this one to part of the dating process, which I suppose is a pretty good analogy (although the anti-cultural imperialism bit of me objects to the fact that one no longer seems to be able to just 'go our with' or 'see' someone anymore on this side of the atlantic, you have to 'date' them, and my less than wonderfully succesful personal life makes me think it's not the most hopeful comparison, but however . . .)
Next up was Alex Brown, familar to anyone who frequents S2S. He talked about 'Why Wharton' and the Admissions process, highlights of which follow. I should add at this point, that I'd been up since 4.30am after not much sleep and my food intake for the day was instant soup and a raspberry bakewell tart, so I was not as alert as I might have been and therefore no doubt failed to write down /remember lots of what was said.
- 2nd largest school in terms of student numbers and largest in terms of resources
- Diversity of students leads to enriched learning
- Wharton students are the ones who employers feel 'hit the ground running'
- c35% of the average class is international plus c8% US permanent residents
- c55 countries are represented in the average class
- First business school
- Continuing introduction of new courses
- Strong culture of student involvement
- Over 100 student clubs, and opportunities to set up new ones
- Able to influence thge school and its future.
- Lots of history and culture
- Well positioned for other cities on the East Coast and internationally
- The vast majority of students are from outside Philly, therefore life tends to be very Wharton centred, facilitating tight communities.
- Students need to be able to thrive not just survive in a rigorous academic environment, other wise they won't be able to take advantage of everything else that the school offers.
- Average GMAT scores are going up becasue students are putting an increasing emphasis on GMAT, rather than because schools are. Smart people are maximising their scores.
- Academics define whether you are admissable, it's the 'other stuff' that gets you admitted.
Alex is a great speaker and really had me enthused about Wharton by the time he'd finished, and the student panel that followed only increased that enthusiasm. The five students talked briefly about where they'd come from, what they're doing know and their Wharton experience. They were from the UK, the US, Russia, Argentina and France, and from classes ranging from (I think) 98 to 04. Unsurprisingly, there was a strong finance (of various sorts) representation, but also marketing, media, engineering and political advising in terms of both people's pasts and presents. The passion and ethusiasm of the panel really shone through. What came across to me was the international nature of the school, the importance of 'social enrichment' as part of the entire learning process, and the 'roll your sleeves up attitude' of students. Also, when talking about Philly, the British panel member described it as "like the North London of the East Coast". This probably doesn't mean much to anyone who doesn't know London, but I thought it was an interesting way of describing a city with a somewhat mixed reputation. And I kind of like north London.
A further twelve or so alumni then stood up and introduced themselves before we all trooped off to the lobby for drinks, nibbles and a Q&A session. I had a brief chat with Alex, for whom this was the last spot of three weeks recruiting in Europe, as everyone was getting drinks and fortified myself with some of the very tasty nibbles. The session started with the chair of the Wharton London alumni organisation talking about what they do, which I thought was an interesting element to include, and then we launched into questions. I must admit my brain is a bit hazy about the questions that were asked. One I remember was about the weaknesses of the school. I always think that the answers to this one are interesting and revelaing, and it's all too easy for them to end up being of the 'I work too hard' or 'I'm a perfectionist' type that we're warned against when answering similar questions as applicants. One of the alumni talked about the career centre and the fact that it hadn't really been geared up for the challenges of a recession, but how that had improved. Another made the point that the culture of the school was such that if students didn't like something, they changed it rather than just complaining about it. Someone else asked about non-profits and I discovered that there's a social entrepreneurship elective going to be introduced, which is interesting. When the Q& A broke up I spoke to one of the alumni who'd been involved in the International Volunteer Program(me), and then headed off in search of sleep.
I'd say this was the best of these sessions that I've been to. A nice building with an excellent auditorium for the main session, good alumni representation and tasty food. I'm very glad I went, and disappointed now that I missed the Kellogg one on Tuesday. I'm aware that it's all too easy to be more positive about one school than another becasue of the interaction you've had with them during the process, rather than because of more meaty issues. But until such time as I know whether anyone wants me, I suppose that's academic.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
We are now in my least favourite fortnight of the year. I'm not sure exactly why, but I always find the two weeks before the clocks go back really difficult. I presume it has something to do with the reducing daylight, although when we get to equivalent, and lower, light levels after a few weeks back on Greenwich Mean Time, I never feel as bad. The increasing cold and dampness that we get at this time of year doesn't help either. Right now, I just want to hibernate and eat chocolate. I find it difficult to get motivated to do anything and easily stressed when I try - you should have seen me trying to get the shrink wrap of a new box of chamomile tea earlier today. Still, knowing why I feel like I'm living on the edge of sanity makes it all easier to deal with and I know that in another ten days I'll feel fine again. Until then, I'll be doing my bit to ensure that chocolate manufacturers remain profitable, nd being ery thankful that I got my applications out of the way before this hit.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Your online status:
- "Complete for Round One": means we have received all your application materials and your file has been forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.
- "Received": means the Operations Team needs to process your hard-copy materials. After these are processed, your online account will be changed to "Complete for Rd 1" and your file will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.
- no status appears: if you applied by hard copy, we are still processing your application materials. You will receive an email on how to access your online account once your application has been processed. Please allow operations until Friday October 29th before inquiring about your application.
Invitations to interview:
- we will begin releasing invitations on Thursday, October 21st and will continue until 5pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Thursday, November 18th. There is no particular order in which invitations are released.
- if invited for an interview, you will need to complete one by Thursday, December 9, 2004. Interviews will be available on-campus with trained 2nd year MBAs who are full members of the Admissions Committee or off-campus by alumni or staff. All interviews carry equal weight in the admissions process. There is no advantage to interviewing in one venue over another.
Final Admissions decisions:
- Candidates who have not received an invitation to interview by November 18th will receive a final admissions decision indicating that they are no longer being considered for admission this year.
- Candidates who are offered an interview will receive their final admissions decision by 5pm EST on Thursday, December 23rd.
Thank you for applying to the Wharton School. We look forward to reviewing your application.
Wharton MBA Admissions Committee
Lauder Admissions Wharton MBA Admissions Office
So Thursday marks the start of the official four-week interview worry period.
In these last few days, since I clicked submit for Stanford, I've been reflecting on what I've gained from the application process. Like most applicants, I suspect, I'd read much about how writing an application was very introspective and a learning process. I think that it's once of those experiences that you really need to go through though before you realise just how true the statements are.
I've learnt a lot about where I've come from, careerwise. I've always had a good stock of what I think of as 'dinner party stories'. I can tell you about why you should never take a mixed drink from a certain bishop, my experience f dealing with an 'A-list' actor's stalker, and numerous occasions on which 've spilled coffee alll over myself at inopportune moments. The nature of my jobs has also meant that I've done lots of things which seem to be considered 'interesting', even if they didn't seem that way to me at the time. During the application process though, I've realised that there are alot of things thatI've done or been involved with that really are significant, even if only in a very small way. Things that have made a difference that matters. And I've realised how all the bits fit together into a career path. On the days when I quesiton what I'm doing, when I don't seem to be getting anywhere, when I wonder what the point is, it's good to remember those things.
I've also learnt a great deal about where I want to go. A year ago, I'd have said I had a pretty clear idea of my future career direction, but I know that it's a whole lot more sharply focussed now. I'm much better able to articulate to myself what it is I enjoy doing, and what I'd be glad never to do again. I know where I'm aiming for and why it is that I want to get there. I know the routes I can take, and the sacrifices I'll probably have to make on the way. So when the next job move comes, whether it's in four months time or a couple of years from now, I'm sure I'm goingto be making a better decision than I would have done this time last year.
Finally, I've started to understand more about who I am. The elements of 'me' that I've highlighted in my applications are ones which are really important to me, and writing the essays has helped me to remember their importance and understand the parts that they've played in my life. Looking at the topics that I've really struggled with has taught me just as much. Recently I've been going through a bit of a family situation and have been increasingly experiencing the feeling that I was dancing a dance that I'd danced several times before. While I was writing Stanford Essay 1 something clicked, and I realised that in fact I'd been dancing that dance nearly all my life, and for the frst time I recognised the reasons behind it. I'm still t sure what to do with that insight, but I'm glad I've had it.
So now it's three months of waiting. Come January 18th I might well be sitting here having just received my third ding. Of course, I'd much rather be receiving my third acceptance, but even if it's the former scenario I know that I will have gained an awful lot from the experience and I'll be grateful that I chose to put myself through it.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
I've resolved to take Mark's advice, and stay away from the Business Week boards. I think any support they offer will be more than outweighed by the paranoia and panic they seem to induce, and at the moment I'm finding the various posts along the lines of 'If I miss a deadline, will I really be bumped to the next round' and 'Your application website says x, y, and z, do you really mean that?' rather annoying.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
And I've just had a status change e-mail from Wharton, I'm now officially complet for r1!
Good luck to everyone else working towards r1 deadlines.
Monday, October 11, 2004
My thoughts on this lastMonday night were leading into thoughts I've been having for a while about management education and the nfp sector. I think there's a culture in a lot of the sector, at least in the UK, that views managment education as 'not for the likes of us'. My guess is that anyone working in a marketing role in the sector will have developed a repertoire of ways of expressing the concept of 'brand', for example, without actually using the b word, because it tends to scare people. And too often things like planning, strategy, measurement and evaluation are seen as impositions from the private sector that get in the way of what the nfp sector is trying to do, rather than as tools that can help us do things better. So management education is viewed with suspicion. I wonder what can be done to change that.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
There were two main elements to the evening - a panel discussion and a 'B-school Fair' of the schools involved in Forte. The panel element was opened by the Dean of the London Business School (LBS were hosting the event) who spoke about the importance of developing and retaining female business leaders, and the fact that the proportion on female MBA applications plummets once you get outside North America. She said that the proportion of female students in business schools in the US pretty much mirrors the proportion of applicants, but there are many fewer non-North American female applicants, which makes it more challenging to have a good proportion of female students at schools such as LBS.
The panel comprisses an American Yale grad who'd been in non-profit before business school and had switched to financial trading, an American MIT Sloan grad who'd transitioned from being an economist with the Federal Reserve to brand management for Diners Club, a South African LBS grad who'd moved from corporate lawa to set up the Fresh! organic sandwich company (I highly recommend their sandwiches - not cheap but really good) and a South African LBS student who was just starting her first year. In addition, alumnae from various other schools were in the audience and chipped in with answers to questions.
It was interesting to go to an event that was focussed on the benefits of an MBA rather than on any one school of programme in particular. I also found it interesting that the vast majority of the questions were general rather than 'female focussed', much more so than at the Stanford information session for women a couple of weeks ago. Given that I'm already very much set on going to B-school, I wasn't really the prime target audience for this event and I didn't come away with any startling new revelations (although maybe some useful information to use in a scholarship application). I'd beenb tempted to bail out earlier in the evening - getting there had necessitated working in the office rather than at home (which is what I usually do on a Monday), and being able to get to the office in time to leave early enough had necessitated getting up at 4am, so by the time I was heading to LBS I was very tired and hadn't had time to get something to eat so was also very hungry - but I'm glad I went. There were c 50 potential applicants there, and I think the discussion communicated that an MBA is worthwhile investment that enables you to expand your horizons and opens new doors (and helps keep them open should you decide to have a career break to start a family). It was also heartening to see the panel so cheerful about taking on and paying off debt to finance it. (One of the panelists mentioned that when she graduated lots of people got signing bonusses which took care of a big chunk of the debt. I was sitting behind Alex Brown from Wharton, and his reaction to this suggested that it wasn't something that current applicants should count on, though.)
As I already know where I'm applying, I was less interested in the 'fair' side of things, which went on before and after the discussion. I introduced myself to Alex, to put a face to a name, in the early session, and then headed home once the discussion was over. All in all, I think it was a worthwhile evening. Some of the organistion could have been a bit better (clearer signage, better use of people to direct participants, more signing-in sheets, a less surly security guard on the front desk) but I hope it will have encouraged some good applicants. I also hope Forte consider doing some undergrad events in the UK. I was conscious that last night they were preaching to the at least partially converted (women who've decided that an MBA is at least worth exploring) but there must be a whole lot more who've never thought of it.