Sunday, January 23, 2005

Change of Status 

This past week has seen the official end of my time as a business school applicant. Now it's down to me to do the choosing, and suddenly the prospect of being a business school student seems a whole lot closer. Depending which school I choose, I'm just six or seven months away from packing my bags and getting on a plane, and I know just how fast those months are likely to go.

So far my response has been fairly unstructured. I keep coming up with things that I need to do or decide or be aware of but in a pretty random manner. I flit from passports to buying furniture to waiving courses to tax rebates in seconds. I'm also starting to get mildly daunted at the prospect of being expected to be a properly functioning adult whilst living in a new country where things don't quite work the same. I'm sure it'll all be fine, especially once I'm actually doing and dealing with things rather than just anticipating them, and after all experiencing a different country and culture was part of the reason for deciding to do an MBA outside the UK, but I must admit it is all making me a little edgy right now. I'm going to try to sit down this week and make a more structured list of what I need to do and give it a timescale, which should hopefully make me feel more in control and a bit calmer. And as one of my friends pointed out, the whole, charming, smiling, terribly English damsel in mild distress thing can have its uses, if I don't mind debasing myself!

The one practical thing I have started doing is filling out the financial aid forms. By and large they're pretty straight forward, especially as I seem to be putting a big fat zero in most sections. The only thing I'm struggling with is working out which figure to put in the section for retirment plans, becuase my pensions statement doen't give one nice easy figure. It's probably slightly academic anyway because that money, such as it is, is completley untouchable until I retire, but I'm going to get in touch with the financial aid offices and see if we can work out what I should put.

In terms of money, both schools look pretty comparable at the moment, but in different ways. Wharton's offered me $$ which Kellogg hasn't (although there's the possibility that they might, their scholarship decisions are made in March I believe) but Wharton also expects a personal contribution of 10%, doesn't include the cost of a computer in the student budget, and money isn't available there until the start of term in September, even though you have to be there for pre-term in August. The 10% is going to be 'interesting' , the rest I think should be manageable if I'm careful, a little creative, and can cope with no furniture other than a mattress for pre-term. With Kellogg starting a month later, I'd also have some extra money from having worked a month longer. So in summary, Wharton currently works out better in the long-run, but Kellogg will be easier at the beginning. Right now, the easier beginning feels more comfortable, but I don't want a relatively small financial hurdle to push me in one direction if I want to go in the other one. There are always solutions to be found right? And hopefully ones that don't involve the sale of body parts.


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