Must Read

Illuminati has a great post up today. Everyone should read it. It has an interview with a Haas admit and covers topics from the interview, to school selection, to a budding business venture. Very original, very informative, and very interesting. The themes are applicable across all schools, so read it even if you are not applying to Haas.


Wall Street Compensation

This article states that it is set to bounce back, after falling substantially, last year. If this is true, then there is one question I have and two prerequisite questions.

1. How quickly will MBAs flood back to Wall St.?

Prerequisites:1. Will Wall St. still hire the same number of MBAs?

2. Is Wall St. permanently tainted in the eyes of MBA grads?

My reaction to the last follow-up question is that Wall St. is certainly tainted, but I think quite a few people will be driven back there because of the staggering amounts of money that can be made. Is that right, probably not, but do people sometimes look for the quickest get rich quick scheme, certainly. Many of this year’s grads had to change career plans quickly because there were no jobs to be had in finance. It should be interesting to see how the class of 2010 shakes out because Wall St. will be there with big bonuses, but non-profits and green tech companies will also be there. Do MBAs derive more utility from doing something good (for the country or the environment) or from the money offered by Wall St.? In the past, the answer was emphatically: Wall St., but now I am not so sure.

The next prerequisite is whether or not Wall St. still has an insatiable appetite for MBAs. Do firms view it as the failure of the MBA system, or simply bad risk management practices. My view is that Wall St. is going to need talent to make money, and an MBA (along with other professional designations, like a CFA) is a bona-fide stamp of approval that the person is intelligent and can work hard. Will the numbers be down? Of course they will be. The sheer consolidation of the financial industry almost assures that there will be less financial recruits on a yearly basis. This consolidation also provides smaller financial firms the opportunity to recruit talent that was not available to them during the boom. A smaller firm, like Jefferies, should be able to pick up a whole class of Top 10 MBAs because it is now a game of musical chairs, and no one wants to be unemployed when the music stops.

This brings me to my main question. Much like the clip below, MBAs will come, they will most certainly come.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Wall Street Compensation“, posted with vodpod

Hitting the Century Mark and Dropping the Ball…

Sometimes things come together so perfectly, that one has to wonder if they have been given a gift from God. Other times things go so wrong that you can’t help but wonder if God is just having a laugh at your expense. Both of those things happened to me this weekend.

Let’s start with the good news, always better to start with the good news, that way you can wallow in self pity about the bad news. It all started on Thursday evening when i found out that my fiance’s client was going to take us to a Yankee game against the Boston Red Sox (big rivals, for those who don’t know baseball very well). When we arrived at our seats I was shocked because we were in the closest section, about 14 rows from the field. Very cool! It was a great experience, as we had people come and take our orders instead of waiting in line at the concession stands. The best part was that we didn’t pay for anything, except one round of drinks because it was a business expense. The weekend is most certainly off to a great start as the Yankees win a tidy 3-0 game. Great pitching, great defense, great time! The bad part of the game came in the 6th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox Center Fielder, ended the inning by making a routine catch. As he jogged back to his dugout he looked into the crowd as he prepared to throw the ball to a fan. He tossed the ball high into the air and a little bit too far for those ahead of me. The ball was about to come down in a stairwell, when I reach over and the ball comes inches from my finger tips. It then proceeds to bounce down the stairs to those in the section below mine. UGH! I was booed and heckled by the crowd for my effort (or lack there of).

Before going to the game on Saturday I found out that my friend had tickets to the Sunday game, but was not able to attend. I gladly accepted the tickets, and because she won them, they were again free. I invite my brother and some of his friends to the game and we are situated by the right field foul pole, in the second deck. In the sixth inning (again!?!) Mark Teixeira hits a deep drive that looks as though it is headed right for us. It isn’t a pop up, this is a hard hit line drive. As it gets closer to our section, I realize that it actually is coming directly at us. My brother prepares to catch the ball with his bare hands and then all hell breaks loose. The ball hits my brother in the finger, breaking it, and knocking him into the person next to him! The ball bounces off his broken finger and hits me in the chest! It falls to the row below us and I dive over the seats in front of me (and over and elderly woman) to try and retrieve  the ball. The elderly woman, apparently shocked by the young man who has just leapt over her shoulder, kicks the ball to the row one below her! At this point I am fully extending my body and stretching to try and retrieve the ball…I see it, but before I can throw myself at it, it is picked up by a man two rows below me. My brother and I were promptly booed (again!), and one of the classy gentleman below me turned around and said, “What are you gay? Catch the fucking ball!”The agony, the pain, the humiliation!

For those of you who are not familiar with the game, and are going ot say, “You’ll get them next time champ,” or “I am sure you will get another chance at catching a ball,” please realize that I have been going to games for my entire life and I have only come close to 3 balls. The two this weekend and one 3 years ago and bounce between my brother’s legs and kicked away from us (come to think of it, maybe it is him who is the weak link). So these opportunities do not manifest themselves very often. For it to happen two games in a row is astronomically rare and I blew it, flat out, just blew it.

But….The Yankees went onto to win the game on Sunday and clich the American League East Championship. It was their 100th win and this is my 100th post (weird, right?). So I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who has read/commented on my blog since I started. I never thought that this many people would read about my trials and tribulations and come back to read more. At current count I have had over 6,600 hits, which is about 6,600 more than I thought I would ever get (I don’t think all of them are from readers, as I believe 6,599 of them were from my mother). I have had about 75 comments and have enjoyed every one of them. Thanks to everyone, and hopefully my next 100 will be even better than the first 100 (because honestly, they weren’t very good).

P.S. Sent my Cornell essays and my resume to Yoda, so I should have an update for you sometime this week.

P.P.S. The Redsksins lost to a team who hadn’t won in 20 straight games, how does that happen?

GMAT Score Report & Weekend Plans

I received the Official GMAT Score Report today. I got a 6.0 on the AWA, so that made me feel pretty good. Although you usually don’t find anything of interest on the score report, other than the AWA score, I did. In my post-mortem GMAT post I said that I got a 36 on Verbal, which was the same I had received on my first attempt. When I looked at my score report I noticed that I got a 38…not earth shattering, but possibly important. One of the schools I am applying to, Dartmouth (R2), takes the highest Verbal and the highest Quant and makes that your new GMAT score,  much like the SATs. When combining my 38 with my 48, I have a “new” highest score of 710. While not that important, it at least makes me feel somewhat better that in some way shape or form, I broke 700! It also give me over 80% in both sections, which shows nice balance in my work. I am still not happy about my Verbal score, but at this point I cannot change it.

I am now moving on from the GMAT, it is in the past and I will not be talking about it anymore. Finishing off my essays, especially Cornell, is my new priority. The Cornell App is due Oct. 6th. I have all of my personal info in the app and my test scores. I have one rec. posted, but am still waiting on my current supervisor to upload his. He made a quick comment to me, apologizing for not getting it in sooner. I told him Cornell should be the priority and the other schools can wait because they have November deadlines. My last piece of business is to upload my transcripts.  Shouldn’t be too hard, which is probably why I have waited until the very last moment to do it.

My essays are coming along very well as I just sent Yoda over my most recent copy. The essays will then be passed onto a Cornell “expert” who will propose final changes to the document. I am going to be very happy to get rid of these monsters, so Oct. 6th cannot come soon enough (Although I hope to submit at least a couple days before the deadline). After Cornell it is onto finishing off my NYU essays and starting my Dartmouth essays (fun, fun).

This weekend will mostly consist of going to a Yankees vs. Red Sox game, watching football, and the Cornell essays. Should be a wonderful weekend, as fall has certainly set in. We are coming down the home stretch for mnay R1 applicants. You can almost see the finish line…kick harder and finish it off!

All about confidence…

So much of the MBA applicant experience is about confidence.  In looking back at my GMAT performance, I think that my perception of a poor performance on the Quant Section might have sabotaged my Verbal Section.  This is not the only place that confidence plays a large part though. The essays are about a belief in yourself and your accomplishments.

It can be very tough to read about the people who got into business school that started their own charity and have their own business, all while holding down an I-Banking job at Goldman. You begin to think that everyone who applies to business school is like that and your “accomplishments” seem puny by comparison. Your resume begins to shrink as you note that you haven’t worked for a large bank, a PE Fund, or a well known non-profit. Your college experience gets diminished because your school isn’t a Top 25 university with a huge endowment and a large alumni network. Despite all of this, you have to answer the question: what do you add to my MBA program? My initiate reaction was somewhere in between dumb struck and crippling fear. How are you supposed to answer that? Confidence!

I found that by listing all of the things I have done, on a piece of paper, I was able to overcome it. I realized that while I might not have started a hospital for children in Africa or sold my first business (I tried selling rocks that I colored with a crayon! Sadly, I overestimated the market for said rocks and the business closed shortly after. The world can be a cruel place for a 7 year-old)  by the age of 18, I had done some pretty great things (If I do say so myself!).

Confidence is also going to play a large role in the interview process (if I ever get there…God, I hope I get there). There is nothing worse than walking into an interview so nervous that you avoid eye contact and never really sell yourself. Being yourself is hard to do without confidence in who you are. This brings me the real reason for my post. I had to find a way to post this video, of a little boy re-enacting the famous Herb Brooks Speech before the 1980 Olympic Hockey Finals. The team was up against the Russians and had no reason to believe in themselves, but once he delivered this speech, there was no way they were going to lose. What a job by this little guy, btw…suit and all. He is going places. Future MBA, class of 2035.

I have to run, I am meeting with a VC firm to try and revive my rock selling business. I think the market is finally mature enough to support my venture.

Weekend Rewind (GMAT Edition)

As I was making my way through the Verbal section of the GMAT, I thought I was doing pretty well. I didn’t think my Quant section had gone well, so I was determined to make up for it with a great verbal section. I had not scored below the 96th percentile in Verbal in about 3 weeks, so I thought if I did about the same in verbal, I would be happy. As long as the test accurately reflects my strengths and weaknesses, then I have done the best I can…everything was going swimmingly as I got to the last Read Comp section. Panic was now setting in….the passage was only two paragraphs!!!!!!!!!!!!

Throughout the practice tests, I noticed that the better I was doing, the longer the passages got, so I immediately knew I wasn’t doing as well as I normally do. This coupled with my perceived poor Quant performance had me thinking I was looking at something like 620. The moment arrived to click the “Continue” button to calculate my score. I didn’t even look…I waited until I saw the screen change to look at my score.

When I saw my score there was shock, horror, relief, and anger all rolled into one. The screen displayed a 690, not what I wanted, but obviously much better than I had expected. How did this happen you ask? Well the Quant section that I thought I bombed turned out to be a 48 (83%), which I was thrilled with. My verbal was a huge letdown, 36 (78%), as it was the exact same score I received last time. I was very angry with myself for not doing better in verbal because if I had done what I normally do in verbal, my score would have been well north of 700.

I realize that it sounds pretty stupid to be disappointed with a 690, but it is more about not reflecting my true abilities that made me angry (still makes me angry). BTW…an increase of 4 points in Quant is only worth 10 more points on the total score, wtf? Overall the experience was a good one, and from where I came (550 on my first practice test) this is a pretty good achievement. My plan is to go with my score for this year and if I don’t get into a top 25 school then I will re-take the GMAT next year in hopes of improving on that score.

On a somewhat related note: Why do I consistently get great verbal scores on practice tests and a mediocre verbal score on the real thing? I wouldn’t mind so much if it was just a Kaplan thing, or just a Veritas thing, but I was pretty consistent throughout the process. Very perplexing to me…

I hope everyone who took a GMAT this weekend did very well, happy Monday everyone!

Is this sad?

I read this story about the Bulgarian lottery and immediately my mind thought, probability question! That is how you know you need to stop preparing for the GMAT! No matter what happens a weight will be lifted off my shoulders tomorrow. That is, until the weight of finishing my essays crashes onto said shoulders. The process of applying to B-School is a harrowing journey and should not be taken lightly. Feel like Froto Baggins…Have a wonderful weekend and may all your GMAT scores be 800!